The Great Plague destroyed Europe. Now the world’s a different place … From the award-winning author of the Mars trilogy, ‘the ultimate in future history’ (Daily Mail), comes the most ambitious alternate history novel ever written.
As Bold Bardash, a horseman in the army of Temur the Lame, rides west across the steppe and on to the Magyar Plain, he comes across a town in which everyone lies dead. Long dead. Plague has struck Europe. Kali’s black blanket has fallen over the lands of the West and nothing will ever be the same again.
Into this empty land pour the opportunists: the merchants, slavers and warlords. The Chinese cross the oceans in their huge fleets; the Arabs traverse the deserts by camel and mule and the Mediterranean by dhow. The last Europeans are killed or enslaved – consigned to the seraglios of the sultans. So die the ancestors of Da Vinci and Copernicus; Columbus and Machiavelli; the Spanish Inquisition and the Conquistators; Shakespeare, Newton and the Pilgrim Fathers; Einstein and Hitler. And the world becomes a different place.
In this extraordinarily ambitious, poetic and powerful novel, Kim Stanley Robinson takes us on a journey through seven hundred years of history as it never was, but might have been.