Posted by: mlawrencekey | March 7, 2011

Review: The Years of Rice and Salt

The Years of Rice and SaltThe Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book begins with a great "what if?" question: how would history progress if the Black Death of the 14th century had wiped out nearly 100% of Europe’s Christian population instead of the third that it actually did? A fascinating exploration of an alternative history timeline in which the Islamic world and China, as well as a few other world powers, vie for dominance, colonizing new lands and eventually fighting a great war. Woven throughout the sweeping historical narrative are the stories of a handful of characters who are born and reborn, mysteriously appearing in each others’ lives and helping one another to grow and advance as individuals. I’ve read it twice and plan to read it again. It has its weak points, but overall, a fascinating thought experiment set in the midst of a well-written novel with compelling characters.

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