End of the Century

End of the Century

4.5 2
by Chris Roberson
     
 

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At the eve of the new millennium, teenager Alice Fell is alone on the streets of a strange city, friendless and without a pound to her name. She is not sure whether she's losing her mind, or whether she is called by inescapable visions to some special destiny. Along with a strange man named Stillman Waters, a retired occultist and spy – or so he claims – … See more details below

Overview

At the eve of the new millennium, teenager Alice Fell is alone on the streets of a strange city, friendless and without a pound to her name. She is not sure whether she's losing her mind, or whether she is called by inescapable visions to some special destiny. Along with a strange man named Stillman Waters, a retired occultist and spy – or so he claims – she finds herself pursued by strange creatures, and driven to steal the priceless "vanishing gem" that may contain the answers to the mysteries that plague her.
A century earlier, consulting detective Sandford Blank, accompanied by his companion Roxanne Bonaventure, is called upon to solve a string of brutal murders on the eve of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. The police believe that Jack the Ripper is back on the streets, but Blank believes that this is a new killer, one whose motive is not violence or mayhem, but the discovery of the Holy Grail itself. And what of the corpse-white Huntsman and his unearthly hounds, who stalks the gaslit streets of London?
And in the sixth century, Galaad, a young man driven by strange dreams of a lady in white and a tower of glass, travels to the court of the high king Artor in Londinium, abandoned stronghold of the Roman Empire in Britain. With Galaad’s bizarre dreams as their only guide, Artor and his loyal captains journey west to the Summerlands, there to face a threat that could spell the end of the new-forged kingdom of Britain.
These three adventures—Dark Ages fantasy, gaslit mystery, and modern-day jewel heist—alternate until the barriers between the different times begin to break down, and our heroes confront the secrets that connect the Grail, the Glass Tower, and the vanishing gem. And lurking behind it all, the entity known only as Omega.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

This ambitious fantasy combines three very British stories: an Arthurian fable, a Victorian murder mystery and a modern-day YA adventure tale. A strange visitation sends young father Galaad to Caer Llundain in the year 498. American teenager Alice Fell, who gets holy visions during epileptic seizures, makes a similar pilgrimage to London in 2000. In 1897, as Queen Victoria celebrates her jubilee, consulting detective Sandford Blank and his sidekick, Roxanne Bonaventure, investigate a series of brutal murders. The hinted interconnections between the three tales are complex and fascinating, but as the stories come together, the novel disintegrates into a confusing mélange of ancient computers from the future, overlapping characters and objects moving through time and space. Though it jumps the tracks at the end, Roberson (Paragaea) still makes this a rollicking ride. (Dec.)

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Children's Literature - Monserrat Urena
In this book, three separate story/time lines intersperse. The first story focuses on a lonely teenager named Alice Fell. She is being tormented on all sides by dark beings and is being driven towards an inevitable destiny. The second character lives a century earlier. Sandford Blank is a consulting detective who, along with his partner Roxanne Bonaventure, has been called in to solve a series of murders that are taking place on the eve of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. The third character, from the sixth century, is Galaad. He is dreaming of a lady in white. Spurred on by his dreams he heads toward the court of the high King Artor in Londinium. All three stories are connected by the importance of or search for the Holy Grail. I can only imagine just how challenging it must have been to write this book. Even one or two story lines can be complicated let alone three. Despite the fact that the three story lines are balanced well, I often found myself with very little interest in Galaad's story. In the end he detracted from both Sandford and Alice, their stories being far more compelling. I also had a particular interest in reading more about the characters set in the Victorian age. The fortunate thing is that this author has written other books with these characters, allowing readers the chance to know them better. To summarize, this is an epic book and it is successful on several levels. It is not without some flaws but it makes an interesting read, especially for those who are interested in new ways of envisioning grail lore. Reviewer: Monserrat Urena
Library Journal

In sixth-century Londinium, young knight Galaad follows his visions to the castle of King Artor and the search for the Holy Grail. Victorian London houses consulting detective Sandford Blank and his assistant, Roxanne Bonaventure, who hunt for a serial killer whose motive is the location of the grail. In 20th-century London, American teenager Alice Fell is on the run, pursuing strange visions that lead her as well to the sacred cup of the grail. Inevitably, the barriers between time and place deteriorate, bringing a group of seekers together in a cosmic confrontation between good and evil. The author of Here, There & Everywhere and The Voyage of Night Shining White blends high fantasy, Victorian mystery, and urban fantasy into one mesmerizing story that refreshes the Arthurian legend. For most fantasy collections.


—Jackie Cassada
From the Publisher
"This ambitious fantasy combines three very British stories: an Arthurian fable, a Victorian murder mystery and a modern-day YA adventure tale… The hinted interconnections between the three tales are complex and fascinating… a rollicking ride."
– Publishers Weekly

"Chris Roberson’s ambitious quest for the Holy Grail that intermingles all three ages to truly entertaining effect."
– Geek Monthly

"…a triple-threaded tale…. a spectacular collection of secrets, murky underworld organizations, and everything from time travel to magical swords. In the dizzying conclusion, time lines converge in a satisfying reimagining of a very old story."
– Booklist

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781591028390
Publisher:
Prometheus Books
Publication date:
09/25/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
1,045,268
File size:
2 MB

What People are saying about this

Michael Moorcock
Chris Roberson is one of that bold band of young writers who are taking the stuff of genre fiction and turning it into a whole new literary form - a form for the 21st century. A talented storyteller, he has a unique ear, a clever eye, an eloquence all too rare in modern fiction.
Charles DeLint
Roberson is another author to watch.

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