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A Calculus of Angels (Age of Unreason) [Unabridged] [Paperback]

Greg Keyes
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Oct 2004 Age of Unreason
A dazzling blend of fantasy and alternative history, the second novel in The Age of Unreason quartet

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A Calculus of Angels (Age of Unreason) + The Shadows of God (Age of Unreason) + Newton's Cannon (Age of Unreason)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Tor; 1 edition (1 Oct 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330419986
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330419987
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 11.2 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 265,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"The opening blast of his planned Age of Unreason trilogy is powerful enough to make readers grab Book 2, A Calculus of Angels, when it arrives."--USA Today "MASTERFUL . . . A BRAVURA PERFORMANCE . . . [An] ingenious melange of Age of Unreason period details, stunning psychic and alchemical phenomena, [and] fetching poetic descriptions . . . Lavish and thoughtful."--Publishers Weekly (starred review) "EXCITING, SUSPENSEFUL, AND BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN."

Book Description

1722: A second Dark Age looms after the devastating impact of an asteroid, unnaturally drawn to Earth by dire creatures who plot against the world of men. Sir Isaac Newton and his young apprentice, Benjamin Franklin, have taken refuge in ancient Prague, seeking the secrets of aetheric beings whose vast powers and new sciences have so nearly destroyed humanity ... yet who may prove to be its last, great hope. But their safety is tenuous, as Peter the Great marches his unstoppable forces across Europe. And half a world away, Blackbeard the pirate leads a party of colonial luminaries back across the Atlantic to discover what has befallen the Old World. With sails a Choctaw shaman whose mysterious connections to the invisible world warn him of a confrontation as violent as it is decisive ... ‘Masterful…a bravura performance…lavish and thoughtful’ Publishers Weekly (starred review) ‘Exciting, suspenseful, and beautifully written’

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Very "visual", scenic settings employed by Mr. Keyes, his episodic novels (Part One and Two) keep three, sometimes four plots together in a tight, page-turning, narrative. Dialog is somewhat more stiff, and a bit less plausible, but at least it doesn't get in the way. The characters very well delineated, Newton comes off as cantankerous, aloof, and obsessive as he probably was. Blackbeard is like every schoolboy's pirate fantasy. Some of the other characters, the Venetian Riva, for instance, seem to be drawn from life. There's message and moral here, too: all the classical stuff, hubris as the cause of downfall, redemption through love; oh yes, and Mr. Keyes seems to be making the historical point that the vaunted "Age of Reason" was not all it's cracked up to be in the history books, since if they had possessed a powerful science (like ourselves), they might have plunged the world into a deeper chaos than our much-abused 20th century.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What's the alchemal sign for fun? 31 May 2005
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A Calculus of Angels, the second book in the Age of Unreason series by J. Gregory Keyes, does exactly what a second book is supposed to do. It builds on the first book, giving us more insight into the greater problem that the series addresses, as well as moving all the characters forward. The alternate history that Keyes has built is fascinating stuff, much richer than the "what if World War II turned out differently" that many authors use. A Calculus of Angels is a wonderful mixture of sorcery, alchemy, and science. Keyes also adds a few more characters to the mix, making for a much deeper story.
We are a few years removed from when the great comet hit London and wiped out much of western Europe. Those in the Americas, not having heard anything from Europe in quite a while, are ready to join forces (French, English, and Native) to send an expedition to find out what is happening. Meanwhile, Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia, is on the march to conquer what is left of Europe. Sir Isaac Newton and his young apprentice, Ben Franklin, are in Prague, attempting to figure out what is really going on. Adrienne, former lover of King Louis of France, is on the run from the remnants of the French nobility, all vying for what's left of the French throne. What spirits are using the world to fight their own war against humanity? Are these spirits religious in nature, servants of God? Or are they trying to fight everything that humanity holds dear? Who controls who? And will Peter be able to conquer everything in his path with the mysterious flying ships that he wields? All will come together in one city, one fatal encounter that could decide everything. And what does Adrienne's child have to do with all of this?
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5.0 out of 5 stars a series that gets better with each volume 28 Jun 2004
Book 2 of the Age of Unreason
"A Calculus of Angels" picks up two years after the events of "Newton's Cannon". To give a quick recap of what has happened before, this novel is set in the 18th Century, but one that is no longer recognizable as the 18th Century. Isaac Newton discovered something called philosopher's mercury, a substance that has allowed science to go into a entirely new direction and it truly did change the world. The heroes of our story are Ben Franklin, who is the apprentice of Isaac Newton, and Adrienne, a brilliant scientists struggling with the societal strictures of being a woman. Two years prior to "A Calculus of Angels" someone had called down a comet and destroyed London completely. There are forces in the world that are similar to Angels or Demons (depending on how you are looking at it) called the Malakim. They are part of the hidden powers that are permitting these wonderous scientific devices.
This brings us to the second novel (more or less). France no longer has a central authority after the death of Louis XIV. Tsar Peter the Great, of Russia, is marching his armies East to build an Empire. A delegation from the American Colonies is sailing to Europe to discover what happened (after the Comet hit, there were natural disasters and all contact with the continent ceased), and the delegation includes Cotton Mather, Blackbeard the Pirate, and a Choctaw named Red Shoes. Ben Franklin is in Prague trying to defend the city from an attack similar to the one that destroyed London, and he no longer trusts Isaac Newton. Adrienne is learning more of the Malakim and her journey takes her across Europe in into the circle of powerful men.
This is a difficult book to really describe because it is so complex.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
THe novelwas great i couldn't put down I am a big tolkien fan i thought at first he wouldn't be a good writer i was proven wrong. i am waiting for the third book, When is it coming out anyway?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the first. 30 May 1999
By A Customer
Amazingly this book topped Newton's Cannon. It's slower to get going, but by the second Part you get drawn in deep. Much is revealed, as a the middle book of a series should do. It leaves you wanting more, more so than the first book did.
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