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Publisher's Summary

In this brilliant sequel to The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. - the enthralling, history-bending adventure traversing time and space, fact and fiction, magic and science cowritten with number one New York Times best-selling author Neal Stephenson - a daring young time traveller must return to Jacobean England to save the modern world.

This fast-paced sequel to the near-future adventure The Rise and Fall of D.O.DO. picks up where the original left off, as Tristan Lyons, Mel Stokes and their fellow outcasts from the Department of Diachronic Operations (D.O.D.O.) fight to stop the powerful Irish witch Gráinne from using time travel to reverse the evolution of all modern technology. 

Chief amongst Gráinne’s plots: to encrypt cataclysmic spells into Shakespeare’s 'cursed' play Macbeth. When her fellow rogue agents fall victim to Gráinne’s schemes, Melisande Stokes is forced to send Tristan’s untested, wayward sister Robin back in time to 1606 London, where Edmund Tilney, the king’s Master of Revels, controls all staged performances in London.

And now Gráinne controls Tilney. 

While Robin poses as an apprentice in Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Mel travels to the ancient Roman Empire and, with the help of double-agent Chira in Renaissance Florence, untangles the knotted threads of history while the diabolical Gráinne jumps from time line to time line, always staying frustratingly one step ahead - or is it behind?

Historical objects disappear, cities literally rise and fall and nothing less than the fate of humanity is at stake. As Gráinne sows chaos across time and space, the ragtag team of ex-D.O.D.O. agents must fix the past - in order to save the future.

©2021 Nicole Galland (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

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  • JamesGB
  • 25-02-2021

Tricky second book in, possibly, a great series

Second in the “DODO” series, and whilst this is a solid 4 star read, it suffer from the classic “difficult second album” issues that prevent it from being excellent.

The expository dump required to update the reader on the events depicted in the first book of the series seemed to drag on far longer than required, largely due to the fragmentary nature of the writing (through collated “found” documents): it seemed as if I were still getting info dumps halfway through. Having recently re-read the first book, however, it is possible that I am being unduly harsh on the exposition as the story was already fresh in my mind.

Whilst the new characters introduced were interesting, I felt disappointed at the lack of time given to one of the POV characters from the first book. Whilst this absence provided a focal point to drive the story forward, it had the effect of leaving much of the book without some of the sparky, humorous, character interaction that elevated the previous book in the series.

In comparison to its predecessor in the DODO series, this book appeared to spend much more time fleshing out the minutiae of the adventures in the historical settings, at the cost of developing the ongoing plot points in the “present”. It was as if there was a much more exciting story going on, but that a lot of groundwork needed to be put in place first before we would be allowed to see it.

The ending of the first book in the series felt complete, whilst also leaving the door wide open for a sequel. In contrast, this story ends surprisingly abruptly with so many open plot threads that I almost felt like the author got edited down into a compact word count leaving a half finished volume 3 sitting on her desk and a treatment for an 8 book series with a single overarching story.

Hopefully that is the case and a third instalment can be published quickly (I would happily pre-order today).

I listened to the Audible version, narrated by Laurence Bouvard et al. Narration was excellent.

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