• by Neal Stephenson
  • Narrated by Neal Stephenson, Oliver Wyman, Tavia Gilbert, William Dufris
  • 32 hrs and 30 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Fraa Erasmus is a young avout living in the Concent of Saunt Edhar, a sanctuary for mathematicians, scientists, and philosophers, protected from the corrupting influences of the "Saecular" world by ancient stone, honored traditions, and complex rituals. Over the centuries, cities, and governments have risen and fallen beyond the concent's walls. Three times during history's darkest epochs, bloody violence born of superstition and ignorance has invaded and devastated the cloistered mathic community. Yet always the avout have managed to adapt in the wake of catastrophe, becoming out of necessity more austere and less dependent on technology and material things. Erasmus, however, has no fear of the outside - the Extramuros - for the last of the terrible times was long, long ago.Now, in celebration of the week-long, once-in-a-decade rite of Apert, the fras and suurs prepare to venture outside the concent's gates - opening them wide at the same time to welcome the curious "extras" in.During his first Apert as a fra, Erasmus eagerly anticipates reconnecting with the landmarks and family he hasn't seen since he was "collected". But before the week is out, both the existence he abandoned and the one he embraced will stand poised on the perilous brink of cataclysmic change.Powerful unforeseen forces threaten the peaceful stability of mathic life and the established ennui of the Extramuros - a threat that only an unsteady alliance of Saecular and avout can oppose - as, one by one, Raz's colleagues, teachers, and friends are all called forth from the safety of the concent in hopes of warding off global disaster. Suddenly burdened with a worlds-shattering responsibility, Erasmus finds himself a major player in a drama that will determine the future of everything - as he sets out on an extraordinary odyssey that will carry him to the most dangerous, inhospitable corners of an unfamiliar planet...and far beyond.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Searching for decent science fiction

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Yes, I got a bit confused on who was speaking when at times.

Any additional comments?

I wasn't sure about this to start with. I was looking for some what is now 'old fashioned' science fiction having grown up with the likes of Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury. This is the closest I have found. The plot got very complicated at times and I will listen again but I enjoyed it. You don't listen to over 30 hours of audio book if you aren't enjoying it.

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- Margaret J.

Better read it

Great novel however because of the multitude of new words created and the large number of alien names it is sometimes hard to follow the vocal narration. It might be better to read this one as to allow an easy referencing of previous information.
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- Louis

Book Details

  • Release Date: 25-09-2008
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio