Stamping Butterflies Paperback – Aug 4 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Grimwood stumbles in this ambitious SF stand-alone, which falls short of the high mark set by his Arabesk trilogy (Pashazade, etc.), hard-boiled mysteries set in a near-future where the Ottoman Empire still exists. Grimwood alternates between the present-day efforts of an assassin to kill the U.S. president and a more cryptic future story line set aboard a Chinese spaceship. While the two plots eventually converge in a way most time-travel fans will have anticipated, the whole proves to be less than the sum of its parts. The action can become confusing and the language overblown. As usual, though, the author displays much cunning and wit as he grapples seriously with political themes. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Grimwood's Arabesk trilogy (Pashazade, 2001; Effendi, 2002; Felaheen, 2003) blended William Gibson-esque cyberpunk, alternate history, and hard-boiled detective elements. His new novel straddles the line between political intrigue and futuristic sf. It's the story of a lone gunman whose failure to assassinate the U.S. president opens a Pandora's box of mysteries. The novel explores the would-be assassin's life by leaping backward and forward in time, from his upbringing on the streets of Marrakech to more than 4,000 years hence, when he wields great tendrils of influence on a system of worlds ruled by a Chinese emperor. Prisoner Zero (so dubbed because he chooses to remain mute after arrest) is either a madman or an undiscovered genius whose cell-wall scribblings may contain the formula to humanity's first warp drive. Grimwood skillfully weaves Moroccan and Far Eastern culture in an inventive, philosophically resonant story line that keeps the reader guessing about Prisoner Zero until the final pages. Carl Hays
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Stamping Butterflies takes place in 3 different time periods: the past circa 1977, the present, and the FAR distant future. In the past we meet Moz, a small boy living in squalor in the streets of Marrakesh. You watch this young boy become a young man, fall in love with his only friend Malika, and learn how to deal with the abusive and manipulative police force of his home town. It even deals with how this young man gets hooked up with an English Pop star and his manager, to become their drug running toady. In the present time frame we meet a man who attempts to assassinate the US President, fails and then gets taken away to a remote Italian Island to be held for questioning and to wait until his death sentence. This part deals mainly with the abuse and neglect he suffers (willingly) while being detained. This was a very disturbing and enthralling experience to read about, and is written very realistically. Suddenly, this almost catatonic assassin starts writing super-sophisticated physics equations in his own filth, and becomes an international miracle overnight. Odd no? Then we move on to the future where a single being known as the Librarian has resurrected the lone survivor of a dying spaceship from Earth. This Librarian is actually a massive, solar system sized incomplete sphere, also called the 2023 worlds.Read more ›
The most novel novel I have read in a long time ;-)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
So yes, it's a strange book. All three storylines didn't work as well for me; I liked the Marrakech, but didn't like the Emperor too much. Then again, I read someone else commenting exactly the opposite, so your mileage may vary. Some of it will get boring before the end, but the final twists make enough sense to make it all worth reading, I suppose. However, there's quite a bit of - perhaps unnecessary - graphic violence, torture and sex; some might find that unpleasant.
Back in 1969 in Marrakech, street urchin Moz is infected by an intelligence embellishing parasite that finds a place inside his brain. The Moroccan police direct Miz to befriend rock-star and mathematician Jake Razor as they assume the outsider is a spy; the lad succeeds becoming a pal of Jake.
Finally five millenniums into the future a sole survivor of a Chinese spaceship is saved by an alien. This leads to an interstellar Chinese Empire whose fifty-third ruler Emperor Zaq dreams of Prisoner Zero and the "Darkness" that he calls the "Library".
This is a complex cerebral science fiction that grips the appreciative audience wondering where Jon Grimwood is taking us. The story line rotates perspective between the three subplots before tying together it into a fascinating Moebius Ring that is further twisted and cut into a Paradromic Ring. Fans preferring a linear tale need to pass the convoluted entertaining STAMPING BUTTERFLIES.