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The Rosetta Codex by Richard Paul Russo
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The Rosetta Codex (edition 2005)

by Richard Paul Russo

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1783109,284 (3.25)4
Cale Alexandros was five years old when his family's starship was attacked en route to Morningstar, the lone outpost of civilization on a savage planet. Cale escaped, only to be picked from the wreckage by nomads. He endured life as a slave until a sympathetic trader freed him, but Cale never forgot what happened in the desert wastes-in a strange, ancient temple, when he found a book with strange metal pages and cryptic writings. When he finally reaches Morningstar, he realizes the true importance of his discovery. The book is a key to understanding alien languages. But it also holds a secret that some people will do anything to control.… (more)
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Title:The Rosetta Codex
Authors:Richard Paul Russo
Info:Orbit (2005), Paperback, 320 pages
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The Rosetta Codex by Richard Paul Russo

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The book started out decently with Cale being marooned and surviving his childhood. Once he got to Morningstar though the plot started skipping months and years at a time -- like the author had started with the notion of a series and then decided to compress it down.

The plot just lost cohesiveness and got very trite with Blackburn following them to where they were to resurrect the Jaaprana. Some silliness with things like "Fifteen minutes later .. Preliminary analysis indicates a breathable atmosphere". Really? On an advanced starship?

Why the Jaaprana went into hibernation would have been a lot more interesting to read at the end than all the great rumbling and swirling lights that came about with their revivification. ( )
  skraft001 | May 31, 2014 |
Cale Alexandros was five years old when his family starship was shot down en route to Morningstar, on the other side of the divide between the prison part of the planet and the civilised part of the planet. Cale becomes a slave and over a series of adventures finds his way to Morningstar. Along the way he finds a book with metal pages and strange writing.

As he finds a life he finds that the writing is alien and a key to understanding the aliens that came before. Can he retrieve it and will it's use be a good or a bad thing?

It's not a bad read but it doesn't really flow well. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Jan 11, 2010 |
First things first. Russo can write. This science fiction novel was wonderfully written, and fairly evocative. The story starts with a spaceship under attack. It crashes and 5-year-old Cale survives and must watch his nanny, Sidonie, raped and killed before he is hauled off by the nomads who rescued him. On the wrong side of the Divide on Conrad's World, Cale grows up with criminals who treat him as their slave. Beaten, he seems to be living day to day until he can finally escape.

Cale seems both purposeful and without purpose as he moves through his life, marching across Conrad's World until he can make the crossing to the other side and yet, taking his time. He refuses the help of an imposing trader, Blackburn, whose path he crosses more than once. When he finds the mysterious, alien book on the during his travels before he can cross to the other side of the planet, his destiny is set even if he does not yet know it.

Cale's lack of connection to a place or people, except for a very few is both the book's strength and its weakness. Cale is driven to do something and he won't let others prevent him from achieving it, whatever it is. Gradually, his path becomes clear, and by book's end, he's fulfilled his destiny. And yet, he remains partly an enigma. Because of his aloofness, he remained distant from at least from this reader. The end seemed a bit too pat, a bit too inevitable, which is fine, but my lack of really coming to care for Cale kept me from really loving this book and I wanted to so much because Russo is that good a writer.

I suppose we're not supposed to connect with Cale. Perhaps, we're supposed to feel his disconnection to most people, the lack of a true home, because of all he's been through, but it comes off too flat. Still, I'd read more books by Russo, if only to discover if my lack of empathy for Cale will be repeated with his other protagonists. ( )
  ShellyS | Sep 8, 2007 |
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