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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062409166, Hardcover)
From bestselling author Neal Stephenson and critically acclaimed historical and contemporary commercial novelist Nicole Galland comes a captivating and complex near-future thriller combining history, science, magic, mystery, intrigue, and adventure that questions the very foundations of the modern world.
When Melisande Stokes, an expert in linguistics and languages, accidently meets military intelligence operator Tristan Lyons in a hallway at Harvard University, it is the beginning of a chain of events that will alter their lives and human history itself. The young man from a shadowy government entity approaches Mel, a low-level faculty member, with an incredible offer. The only condition: she must sign a nondisclosure agreement in return for the rather large sum of money.
Tristan needs Mel to translate some very old documents, which, if authentic, are earth-shattering. They prove that magic actually existed and was practiced for centuries. But the arrival of the scientific revolution and the Age of Enlightenment weakened its power and endangered its practitioners. Magic stopped working altogether in 1851, at the time of the Great Exhibition at London’s Crystal Palace—the world’s fair celebrating the rise of industrial technology and commerce. Something about the modern world "jams" the "frequencies" used by magic, and it’s up to Tristan to find out why.
And so the Department of Diachronic Operations—D.O.D.O. —gets cracking on its real mission: to develop a device that can bring magic back, and send Diachronic Operatives back in time to keep it alive . . . and meddle with a little history at the same time. But while Tristan and his expanding operation master the science and build the technology, they overlook the mercurial—and treacherous—nature of the human heart.
Written with the genius, complexity, and innovation that characterize all of Neal Stephenson’s work and steeped with the down-to-earth warmth and humor of Nicole Galland’s storytelling style, this exciting and vividly realized work of science fiction will make you believe in the impossible, and take you to places—and times—beyond imagining.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 19 Jan 2017 17:27:06 -0500)
"Boston, present day. A young man from a shadowy government agency shows up at an Ivy League university and offers an eminent professor a lot of money to study a trove of recently discovered old documents. The only condition: the professor must sign an NDA that would preclude him from publishing his findings, should they be significant. The professor refuses and tells the young man to get lost. On his way out, he bumps into a young woman--a low-on-the-totem-pole adjunct faculty member who's more than happy to sign the NDA and earn a few bucks. The documents, if authentic, are earth-shaking: they prove that magic actually existed and was practiced for much of human history. But its effectiveness began to wane around the time of the scientific revolution and the Age of Enlightenment; it stopped working altogether in 1851 at the time of the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in London. It's not entirely clear why, but it appears that something about the modern world "jams" the "frequencies" used by magic. And so the shadowy government agency--the Department of Diachronic Operations, or DODO--gets cracking on its real mission: to develop a device that is shielded from whatever it is that interferes with magic and thus send Diachronic Operatives back in time to meddle with history"--
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