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No Present Like Time Paperback – 1 Feb 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 396 pages
  • Publisher: Eos (Feb. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060753889
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060753887
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.4 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

Product Description

Review

"Scintillating prose, well-developed characters and talent for brilliant absurdities... one of the more innovative fantasies of recent years."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"One of the best British authors writing in any genre. ... The outstanding fantasy book of the year."--Publishing News

Book Description

The sequel to the most important debut fantasy of the last ten years. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I bought this book fairly soon after publication because I really liked its prequel, Year Of Our War, but felt that it ended a bit suddenly. But No Present Like Time takes the brave stance of deepening rather than answering the questions of Year of Our War. Of course, this also makes it perfectly easy to read if you've not read the prequel.
It picks up 5 years after the close of Year Of Our War, and the central plot focuses upon an expedition to a newly discovered island off the western coast. The ambiguous quality of the Emperor San and his immortal Circle - yes, some people do get to become immortal, but the remaining mortals are ruled fairly brutally - is developed here through a somewhat obvious contrast with the democratically-inclined and peaceful islanders. Having said that, I love the main character, Comet Jant Shira, an immortal with the ability to fly who remains throughout this book an endearing loser struggling to cope with an errant wife and a serious addiction problem. There's also a sweet plot involving the challenge of a mortal to replace the Immortal swordsman in the Circle.
What I liked about this book was the shifting, uncertain backdrop and the deeply realistic characterisation. Swainston has created a world in which not only the physical realities but also the spiritual assumptions made by the characters are fluid and indeterminate. It's strangely not-like other fantasy I've read. I'd highly recommend it if you prefer to focus on character over plot, and if you're not likely to be put off by some deeply dreamlike sequences (cars made out of flesh, anyone?). Like its prequel, this is a strange and complex book, and, like its prequel, I thought it was lovely.
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Format: Paperback
I read "The Year of Our War", the first book in this series, and I was fascinated by the imagination of Ms. Swainston. Creating a world with immortals, insects and such a vast history, with parallel but connected universe(s) as well.

I was unaware that there would be a second book. I am glad I found it. I understand book 3 is in the works and look forward to it.

The second book follows the immortals, specifically Jant Comet the Messenger, to new worlds and old parallel ones. The character development, especially of Jant and Lightning, continue to develop in this installment, as Jant battles doubts about himself and his addiction, doubts about the immortals, and physical enemies both human and non. More of Jant and Lightnings pasts are revealed, as are some of the Emperors past. New areas of the physical world are discovered, and new parts of the parallel worlds with new allies and foes are presented as well.

The conclusion leaves open many angles for the third book, including the return of God who created the immortals, more invasions by the insects and other possible parallel world bleed overs.

This is not your average fantasy. It reads well and quickly, opens the readers imagination, and challenges them to keep up with the leaps. I eagerly await more.
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Format: Paperback
As The Year Of Our War. More wandering narrative from the 'hero' Jant, more plot threads, more excellent writing in what looks like becoming something of a ground breaking fantasy series.

This is at least as good as the first book if not better. Swainston takes no prisoners, she gives nothing away, and you have to read and pay attention to everything, because sooner or later what was apparently pointless background makes sense of the present narrative. For me at least the book manages a near perfect balance between action, characterisation and description. There's always something interesting going on, and the blend between things we're familiar with from our world and the outright fantasy elements is handled with ease.

Read The Year Of Our War first, if you don't, you'll miss out on the motivation of a lot of the leading characters. Unlike many authors Swainston doesn't organise events to help out new readers by having characters regurgitate events from an earlier volume.
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By A. Whitehead TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 7 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback
The Fourlands are recovering from a devastating invasion by the Insects. The Emperor San has ordered reconstruction efforts to be undertaken, under the watchful eye of his immortal Circle, but many feel that these efforts are proceeding too slowly. Refugees from the front clog the cities and dissatisfaction is spreading. When the Swordsman Gio is unseated by a skilled newcomer, his resentment fuels the flames of rebellion.

Meanwhile, the Messenger, Comet Jant Shira, is commanded to join an expedition to a newly-discovered land beyond the ocean. Terrified of the sea, Jant can only get through the journey by lapsing back into his drug habit. The new land of Tris turns out to be a wonderful paradise, but the Fourlanders' arrival sparks fear and trepidation...even before an Insect gets loose on the island.

No Present Like Time is the second of four novels in Steph Swainston's Castle series, set five years after the events of The Year of Our War. Whilst earlier events are referenced and provide notable backstory for this volume - such as the characterisation of Jant and several other members of the Circle - the main storyline of No Present Like Time is self-contained.

As before, the novel unfolds in the first-person from Jant's perspective. The book contains three principal storylines: the discovery of Tris and the events that unfold there; the rebellion against the established order led by the deposed Swordsman; and Jant's own personal crisis as he deals with his wife's supposed infidelity and his own resulting lapse back into drug use. There is a feeling of duality to the novel, as the external, large-scale and major events in the outside world impact on Jant's own personal life and emotional development, the epic made personal.
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