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From Barnes & Noble
Inside the protective walls of the 3,400-year-old Concent of Saunt Edhar, Fraa Erasmas and the other avouts lead austere days of tranquil contemplation. For almost countless decades, these cloistered mathematicians, scientists and philosophers have enjoyed a peaceful, mathic stability far removed from the violence and uncertainties of life among the Extramuros, but as the raas and suurs prepare for a rarely held rite that will lead them beyond the concent sanctuary into that seldom-visited realm, Erasmas and others come to realize that they have entered a sphere where their survival itself is at stake. Now in paperback. This thousand-page work by the author of Cryptonomicon and The Baroque Cycle reignited controversy about this cult post-cyberpunk novelist.