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The Tropic of Eternity by Tom Toner. Book Review

July 27, 2018

The Tropic of Eternity book cover

Far into the future humankind has fractured into different species, each with its place in the hierarchy of the extended social structure; the Amaranthine, the descendants of humanity who have unlocked some of the secrets of immortality, right down to the Prism species at the bottom of this vast social order. Each faction now vies for supremacy. Things are going to get very messy, unless a balance can be found.

Imagine the Jabberwocky running amok within a steampunk world, and one with the most sophisticated of ethereal capabilities, catching and dragging all it passes in its wild thrashings, then hurling itself into Gormenghast where it begins ferociously terraforming. In this way you might begin to get a grasp on all that is the Amaranthine series.

The story barrels along with the most vigour I have ever seen in a thickly plotted book, yet somehow manages to fit in the most incredible worldbuilding along the way with fully-formed characters you simply have to follow on their journey.

But a word of warning. This is not a lazy read. You need to pay attention if you are going to feast on this all-you-can-eat gourmet buffet of science fiction and fantasy. The Tropic of Eternity is highly episodic, with so many worthy characters that the sheer volume and seemingly erratic way one chapter follows another it requires a reader with a serious amount of concentration, accompanied by an alphabetically organised notebook to keep track of everything. I was about half the way in before I really got to grips with the whole story arc. But I was having such a glorious time with the lyrical writing and description I really didn’t care how disjointed or bizarre the world became, because I just wanted to wallow in everything on offer.

The mish-mash of low tech (almost medieval in some places) welded to high tech weaponry and space craft, which at times appear to have the type of jointing you feel the need to get out your adjustable wrench to tighten because you can feel the structure creak with exertion, is just wild.

When I had finished I couldn’t believe the series only came on my radar at this stage and am now working my way through the other two (albeit slowly), before I go back into The Tropic of Eternity again, because it just has so much to give. Along with its fellows, The Tropic of Eternity will be a book I return to repeatedly over the years. Definity a classic, because worldbuilding on this scale and with such panache is rarely achieved.

The Tropic of Eternity was courtesy of Orion Publishing via NetGalley.

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