Eternity Road [NOOK Book]

Overview

The Roadmakers left only ruins behind -- but what magnificent ruins! Their concrete highways still cross the continent. Their cups, combs and jewelry are found in every Illyrian home. They left behind a legend,too -- a hidden sanctuary called Haven, where even now the secrets of their civilization might still be found.

Chaka's brother was one of those who sought to find Haven and never returned. But now Chaka has inherited a rare Roadmaker artifact -- a book called A Connecticut...

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Eternity Road

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Overview

The Roadmakers left only ruins behind -- but what magnificent ruins! Their concrete highways still cross the continent. Their cups, combs and jewelry are found in every Illyrian home. They left behind a legend,too -- a hidden sanctuary called Haven, where even now the secrets of their civilization might still be found.

Chaka's brother was one of those who sought to find Haven and never returned. But now Chaka has inherited a rare Roadmaker artifact -- a book called A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court -- which has inspired her to follow in his footsteps. Gathering an unlikely band of companions around her, Chaka embarks upon a journey where she will encounter bloodthirsty rirver pirates, electronic ghosts who mourn their lost civilization and machines that skim over the ground and air. Ultimately, the group will learn the truth about their own mysterious past.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Sarah Flowers
McDevitt's post-apocalypse novel is in the tradition of Andre Norton's Star Man's Son (Ballantine, 1952) and Russell Hoban's Riddley Walker (Summit, 1980). A thousand years in the future and hundreds of years after a global plague, remnants of the old world remain-roads, ruined cities, occasional bits of self-sustaining technology. A small band of explorers, led by a determined young woman named Chaka, leave their Republic of Illyria in the Mississippi River Valley and journey north and east to find the legendary Haven, where, according to tradition, the Roadmakers left a storehouse of knowledge. Along the way, they encounter ancient cities and technologies, pirates, a crazy balloonist, friends, love, and death. At times McDevitt's dichotomies between past and present are disconcerting: why should the Illyrians have kept the technology to make guns, for example, but lost the technology of the printing press? But the characters are appealing, the story moves along nicely, and the ending is not totally predictable. Mostly, teens will have fun knowing things the Illyrians do not-like where they are (Chicago, the Erie Canal) and what they are seeing (computers, cars, railways). VOYA Codes: 3Q 3P S (Readable without serious defects, Will appeal with pushing, Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
Kirkus Reviews
Post-disaster odyssey from the author of Ancient Shores (1996), etc. Far-future Earth is littered with decaying monumental structures built by the mysterious Roadmakers, who, according to tradition, succumbed to a lethal plague. Now, the Mississippi-based republic of Illyria has developed an early-medieval technology where, none too believably, firearms are crafted but steam engines and printing presses are unknown. Of an expedition sent to locate Haven, the fabled repository of Roadmaker technology and artifacts, only Karik Endine returned—and he had nothing to say of his journey or what he found. After Karik drowns himself, bequeathing to young silversmith Chaka Milana the only known copy of a Mark Twain novel, the question remains: Where did Karik get the book? So Chaka organizes her own quest, including scholar Silas Glote, Karik's son Flojian, woodsman Jon Shannon, soldier Quait Esterhok, and former priestess Avila Kap. On their journey, far to the northeast, they will encounter vast ruined cities, flying trains, bandits, still-functioning computers, slavers, reclusive engineers, and crazy old balloonists; three travelers will die before the survivors reach Haven to discover the fate of the previous expedition and the source of Karik's mystifying book.

Solid characters and a consistently intriguing plot (though McDevitt's grasp of the details isn't always secure): an uplifting tale (cf. David Brin's The Postman), well up to previous standards.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061828829
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 77,537
  • File size: 445 KB

Meet the Author

Jack McDevitt is the author of A Talent for War, The Engines of God, Ancient Shores, Eternity Road, Moonfall, and numerous prize-winning short stories. He has served as an officer in the U.S. Navy, taught English and literature, and worked for the U.S. Customs Service in North Dakota and Georgia.

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Read an Excerpt

Eternity Road


By Jack McDevitt

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright ©2006 Jack McDevitt
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0061054275

Chapter One

It is a fond and universally held notion that only things of the spirit truly endure: love, sunsets, music, drama. Marble and paint are subject to the ravages of time. Yet it might be argued that nothing imperishable can move the spirit with quite the impact of a ruined Athenian temple under a full moon.

There was something equally poignant in the wreckage the Roadmakers had left behind. One does not normally equate concrete with beauty. But there it was, formed into magnificent twin strips that glided across rolling hills and through broad forests, leaped rivers, and splayed into tributary roads in designs of such geometrical perfection as to leave an observer breathless. And here, in glittering towers so tall that few could climb them in a single day. And in structures whose elegance had survived the collapse of foundations and roofs.

The engineering skills that created them are lost. Now the structures exist as an integral part of the landscape, as familiar to the children of Illyria as the Mississippi itself. But they no longer serve any function save as a tether to a misty past.

Perhaps most striking, and most enigmatic, among them is the Iron Pyramid. The Pyramid dominates the eastern bank of the river. Despite its name, it is not madefrom iron, but from a metal that some believe is artificial. Like so many Roadmaker materials, it seems to resist rust and decay. The structure is 325 feet high, and its base measures approximately a quarter-mile on a side. It's hollow, and the interior is given over to vast spaces that might have been used to drill an army, or to conduct religious exercises.

Roadmaker cups and combs, dishware and jewelry, toys and knickknacks have been excavated from the ruins and now fill the homes and decorate the persons of the Illyrians. They too are made of material no one can duplicate; they resist wear, and they are easy to keep clean.

Rinny and Cohn rarely thought of the ruins, except as places they'd been warned against. People had fallen through holes, things had fallen on them. Stay away. There were even tales that the wreckage was not quite dead. Consequently, adolescents being what they were, they favored the ancient concrete pier a mile north of Cohn's home when they wanted to drop a line in the water.

On this day, rain was coming.

The boys were fifteen, an age at which Illyrian males had already determined their paths in life. Rinny had established himself as a skilled artisan at his father's gunmaking shop. Cohn worked on the family farm. Today both were charged with bringing home some catfish.

Rinny watched the storm build. When it hit, they would take shelter in Martin's Warehouse at the foot of the wharf. Martin's Warehouse dated from Roadmaker times. But it was still intact, a worn brick building with its proud sign announcing the name of the establishment and business hours. Eight to six. (The Preservation Society kept the sign clean for tourists.) Cohn shifted his weight and squinted at the sky. "Something better start biting soon. Or we're going to be eating turnips again tonight."

So far, they had one fish between them. "I think they've all gone south," said Rinny. A damp wind chopped in across the river. It was getting colder.

Rinny rubbed his hands and tightened the thongs on the upper part of his jacket. On the far side, a flatboat moved slowly downstream. They were rigging tarps to protect themselves from the approaching storm. "Maybe we better think about clearing out."

"In a minute." Colin stared hard at the water as if willing the fish to bite.

The clouds were moving out over the river from the opposite shore. A line of rain appeared. Rinny sighed, put down the carved branch that served as a fishing pole, and began to secure his gear.

"I've got a bite," said Cohn. He grinned. "That's better."

"Right. One each will go a long way."

Cohn tried to bring it in, but it resisted. "It's tangled up in something." He pulled hard but the pole bent close to breaking. There was a dark mass in the water. "What is that?"

"It's not a fish," said Rinny, disappointed.

A boot surfaced.

A boot with a foot in it.

Cohn dropped the rod and the foot sank back into the water.

"I don't understand it." Flojian Endine stood away from the bed so Silas could see the body.

Karik seemed to have shrunk year by year since his abortive expedition. Now, in death, it was hard to remember him as he had been in the old days. "I'm sorry," said Silas, suspecting that he was more grieved than Flojian.

"Thank you." Flojian shook his head slowly. "He wasn't the easiest man in the world to live with, but I'll miss him."

Karik's cheek was white and cold. Silas saw no sign of injury. "How did it happen?"

"I don't know." A sketch of a wandering river running between thick wooded slopes hung on the wall. It was black-and-white, and had a curiously unfinished look. The artist had titled it River Valley. In the right-hand corner he'd dated it, and signed his name, and Silas noticed with a mild shock that it was Arm Milana, one of the people lost on the Haven mission. The date was June 23, in the 197th year since the founding of the city. The expedition had left Illyria March 1 of that year, and Karik had returned alone in early November. Nine winters ago.

"He liked to walk along the ridge. See, up there? He must have slipped. Fallen in." Flojian moved close to the window and looked out. "Maybe his heart gave out."

"Had he been having problems?"

"Heart problems? No. Not that I know of." Flojian Endine was a thin, fussy version of his father. Same physical model, but without the passions. Flojian was a solid citizen, prosperous, energetic, bright. . . .

Continues...


Excerpted from Eternity Road by Jack McDevitt Copyright ©2006 by Jack McDevitt. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 36 )
Rating Distribution

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4 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Good Post-Apocalyptic Read

    I liked this book even though it had some flaws. The story took a while to get going. Also, when the Illyrians were on their quest, it would've been nice to be able to recognize some of the remnants of the "roadmakers" handiwork - besides the roads. Either way, I would recommend this book to folks who like post-apocalyptic reads.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Future Past for Roadbuilders

    This SciFi book will appeal not only to those that love the "after the apocalypse" books, but alternative history ones also. This takes place after the apocalypse, but before we regain all that was lost. Think about living around 1860. It has some romance, lots of thrills, and a long quest to search for long lost information. What they find along the road is amazing. The future starts long after our future so they will find things you never expected. A fascinating read. I love maps and live in the northwest, so I had to read it with an atlas so I could try and follow their path (it wasn't easy).

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 14, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    pointless and boring. a group of people in the far future travel

    pointless and boring. a group of people in the far future travel across the ruins of the past looking for answers and never really find them, and i was annoyed by the author's constant anti-religious rhetoric, i like fiction books that entertain, not books disguised as a story when they are actually vehicles for the authors personal political agendas, if you're looking for a good post-apacolyptic novel, this is not it, lame, lame, lame

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 11, 2012

    How Far Would You Go For Answers?

    Imagine a world that in some ways is much like our own, and in other ways is completely different. Jack McDevitt skillfully portrays a world where the unknown and the known are the same thing. A world that exists years after one humanities strongest and brightest periods of existence. There is still a human race in the world, yet they are immensely different from what we know today. They still act like us, but their motivations for survival are different and their understanding of the world is rooted in fear. In “Eternity Road”, the point is not merely to survive but to figure out what happened to the “Roadmakers” and what is next.
    The “Roadmakers” produced a world that is beautiful and, at the same time, confusing to everybody living through the time that this story is based. We follow one society and their journey for answers and a sort of salvation. There are not many societies left in this “new” world but ours, the “Illyrians”, is similar to all the others surviving here. They are lost in a world that was constructed using technology long, long forgotten. They have homes and clothes and some of them can read and invent, but the majority of them are like those in the Middle Ages. Most of the population is low intelligence work force merely existing, but as with any culture there are those who dream of more. Just as we begin to come to understand “Illyrian” society, we are torn away by an expedition setting out to discover the fate of a previous expedition.
    The first groups mission was to find a mythical place that supposedly held the answers to all the mysterious items left behind and the culture that created them. They consisted of adventurers, philosophers, and intellectuals, yet the only person to return is leader of the expedition, Karik Endive. Upon his sudden and mysterious death, he bequeaths a book to the sister of one of the people on the expedition. It is this book, “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court”, that inspires this young woman, Chaka Milana, to create the second expedition. In this society books are rare, and are gateways to view the “Roadmaker” world. The expedition has two real goals. To discover the fate of the previous group and to discover the fabled “Haven” where vast stores of knowledge are believed to exist. It is thought that the first group must have found it because of the book that Karik returned with.
    This search for answers is symbolic for how we, as a society, always feel there is more out there. More for us to learn and discover. Often the question arises for the reader, why go through so much for so little. In this view of a post-apocalyptic world, one cannot stop pursuing answers at any cost. In “Eternity Road”, Jack McDevitt weaves a masterful storyline that shows us that knowledge should be our most cherished quality and we must strive with all of our might to find answers for the unknown.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2012

    Liked it a lot.

    Here's the deal. Just get through the first 50 pages and you're golden. The front end it slow as well as confusing. Push through that to the good stuff.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Good Escapism Reading

    The book starts out well. It is engrossing and a good plot. I thought it ended weakly and the ending was hard for me to believe. It was a bit of a let down from the rest of the story.

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  • Posted August 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Prophetic

    This is a book that will really get you thinking about time and the future of Earth. The story jumps from one thrill to the next. Very unique perspective of the future. kept my attention throughout. It could have been edited down a bit, as there werer some short spans of "Okay keep on reading" and you get through it. Well done Jack!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2006

    Lacking

    Eternity Road creates a wonderful world, but does not full expound on it. In fact, the story isn't that great. The story feels recycled from other stories: finding what was lost after an apocalypse by trying to find a library. However, the world McDevitt creates is wonderful. If only there was a better storyline to go into the unique world. I recommend reading it, you'll love the world McDevitt created. Hopefully you will create a better story for this world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2002

    Roadtrip to the Future

    Terrific page turner, I read it in a day. The plot is good and the unfolding far-future post-apocalyptic landscape is excellent. Message similar to 'Leibowitz', knowledge never really dies, just lays dormant for awhile.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2002

    incredible. just plain incredible.

    book is plain incredible. very compelling story and characters you can relate to at times. a real page turner. kept me up all night just to see what was going to happen to our adventuring illyrian's next.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2002

    EXCELLENT BOOK

    One of my favorites.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2001

    Very Enjoyable

    I felt the book was well written and very thought provoking. It did not focus on one particular acpect but on many, making it more interesting. One must concentrate a little harder because of that fact but that helps make it more enjoyable. The characters are ineresting and enjoyable. The book brings out many emotions and makes one feel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 29, 2000

    Only so-so...

    The idea of the book was fascinating; however, most of the book was spent recounting the journey to GET to the place of interest that was so intriguing in the first place. The journey was NOT the major focus of the book (if it was intended to be, it failed), and McDevitt spent little to no time at the end of the book 'exploring' for the reader the intriguing final destination, opting instead to sum everything up in a brief epilogue. In addition to all of this, Jack McDevitt has a penchant for writing about irresponsible, reckless archaeologists which is actually annoying in this book (although it is barely acceptable in other books.) I believe this book could have been so much better.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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