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[ The Diamond Age ] By Stephenson, Neal (Author) [ Oct - 2012 ] [ Compact Disc ] [CD-ROM]

Neal Stephenson
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • CD-ROM
  • Publisher: Brilliance Corporation (9 Oct 2012)
  • ASIN: B009CN5TWU
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shame on you Mr Stephenson 23 May 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having just reached the end of Mongoliad Book 1, I am frankly astonished that Neal Stephenson has allowed his name to be associated with this novel, which as another reviewer has accurately described it, feels like a failed children's GCSE project. I like many turned to this novel having been captivated by the rest of Stephenson's work, hoping to find something similar to the Baroque Cycle but set in the world of Genghis Khan. Sadly all of the hallmarks of Stephenson's prose and imagination are conspicuous by their absence - there is no shred of humour, no attempt at characterisation, and none of the entertaining Stephenson digressions that make the reader bow to his encyclopaedic grasp of his subject matter.

The writing is simply appalling. On multiple occasions, sections or chapters end on that sophisticated technique - the authorial question... "would she ever see her friends again??". Honestly. There are gaping holes in the narrative - several times I found myself going back a couple of pages to check I hadn't missed something - and the attempts at characterisation are laughable. It is rare to reach the end of any novel and have developed zero sympathy for or affinity to any single one of the characters. Pedestrian, dull... I could go on and on.

Obviously one can point at the book's multiple authors, and how the book actually evolved, to explain its shortcomings. Sadly I think this only excuses it to a very small degree. Perhaps my expectations were too high - after all I have just come from the Baroque Cycle, Diamond Age, Snow Crash, Zodiac and Reamde (plus the excellent Ready Player One by Ernest Cline for video game afficionados, highly recommended) - but this feels like it had no editorial input whatsoever, and is simply a shameful attempt by its publishers to exploit Stephenson's popularity.

Shame on you, Mr Stephenson.
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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Knights Who Say "Meh" 6 Jun 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'm not sure why this book is published as a trilogy - the seven authors have most of the written material in the can, and the biggest names amongst them (Bear and Stephenson) are famous for the size of their tomes. Perhaps that explains why this book reads as if a long, rambling pre-amble, introducing us to three separate plot strands which are hardly connected. But a historical epic can be forgiven for taking its time with scene-setting.

What can't be forgiven is the introduction of do many 'main' characters. There are so many that it is hard to build up an interest in their actions - they ride on some horses, they get in a very detailed fight, they clean up after the fight (this novel is reaching for accuracy) and then they ride on their horses some more. Meanwhile, the b-plot about the shenanigans in the court of the Khan is far more interesting, but hardly given time to expand.

To read this book is to be given a lesson on why books are written by a single author. It is not a bad book, but it is nowhere near a great book - despite the names involved.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Long March 1 July 2012
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There is a theory, put forward in the film Clerks II (I think) that the 'The Lord of the Rings' is about little more than walking. It's a theory with some validity. For 'The Mongoliad it's a cast iron truth. Whilst not entirely without merit, this is essentially a story about some heavily armoured knights doing little more than walk across two continents.

Regular readers of Neal Stephenson will know that many of his novels are slow to begin with. They offer long, detail heavy introductions, with asides and digressions. Plot seems secondary, yet Stephenson's novels are peculiarly compulsive; you find yourself gripped. As his novels progress, the depth of his storytelling becomes apparent. Narrative threads appear that you never saw coming, that leave the reader dazzled by his brilliance. During the Mongoliad,when nothing much had happened for two hundred pages, I wasn't overly concerned. I assumed that its threads would draw together in the final third to deliver a satisfying conclusion. This the first instalment of a new series, so perhaps I am being unfair, but this volume lacks any coherent conclusion at all.

The story starts with promise. Cnan is a 'Binder', one of a group of mysterious female spies. She tracks down a group of Christian Knights, with a message for their leader. From there a quest is born. Europe and Christianity are under threat from the rampant Mongol hordes. The knights decide the best way to neutralise the threat is to send a small detachment onto the Steppe to assisinate the Khan. The remainder of their force stays in a conquered city, to take place in a tournament. The tourney prize, the Mongols say, is the freedom of Europe.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy or Historical Drama. 11 Jun 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I must say that I loved this and it went past really quickly for me - in fact I have already pre-ordered the next part of this Saga. The only thing that was slightly disappointing was the abrupt ending, which may have been the result of the collaboration, but didn't seem like a natural break.

Given the nature of the writers' past output, I was expecting more fantasy elements - but this is rooted in detailed historical fact and this is obviously one reason for having so many writers involved - to tie down all the historical details of the period and get this right. I can also see how there are two contrasting and possibly contradictory "voices" at work in this.

So firstly we have the small party of Christian Knights who would usually be the "heroes" in such dramas - but we see them from the point of view of an outsider - Cnan, who is a half-caste messenger and guide - so we see all their faults and oddities through her eyes; although we do end up siding with them against the horrors inflicted by the Mongol horde. However, simultaneously, we follow Gansukh, a young Mongol acolyte entering the Khan's court and learning about it from an attractive Chinese woman, with whom he becomes enamoured. We gain sympathy for him and his teachers throughout the narrative.

This first part of the saga, builds up detailed pictures of all the characters involved and while there is a certain amount of action, we are mainly learning their backstory and understanding the world in which they live. It really feels like you are "immersed" in another world. There are hints of fantasy - but the surprising thing is that these are rooted in the Christian tradition.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 18 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprise interesting, easy read
Purchased this book as part of a Kindle sale so didn't know what to expect. Read it while on holiday by the pool and thoroughly enjoyed it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amey
4.0 out of 5 stars definitely recommended
I have purchased the set and lookingrward to reading them all. The first book is very good, and the story kept me interested all the way through.
Published 1 month ago by Book boffin
5.0 out of 5 stars outstanding book 1
A very enjoyable read that pulls you along page after page chapter after chapter very good read and highly recommend
Published 2 months ago by Philip O'Connor
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining
There are clear signs of Neal Stephenson's hand in this, and I'm a fan of the pseudo-historicity. Now for books 2 and 3.
Published 2 months ago by Mr. Derek Law
1.0 out of 5 stars An invaluable tool for the impatient legatee
If you are in imminent expectation of a substantial legacy and the anticipated demise is continually deferred, buy the aged relative a copy of "The Mongoliad". Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mr. Allan P. Gay
4.0 out of 5 stars First in series
This was on offer to get into the series and it worked! I ended up getting the whole series and enjoyed how the story and characters developed.
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Ripping Yarn
Enjoyed this book, made a change from the usual crusade/knight books that I've read. Maybe ended prematurely, to get you to buy the next in the series, which I will o. Read more
Published 3 months ago by John Fleming
4.0 out of 5 stars The mongoliad
shaping up to be a good tale a bit too early to tell I think once the story settled into the characters and vice versa we'll get a better idea. Read more
Published 3 months ago by andrew moffat
4.0 out of 5 stars Good story, quite grisly, a bit slow at times
A good story re-emagining an interesting time in history. Fairly graphic description of atrocities, some of the story lines are a bit slow at times.
Published 3 months ago by Cochles
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