With the incomparable vision and breathtaking detail that brought his now-classic Mars trilogy to vivid life, bestselling author KIM STANLEY ROBINSON boldly imagines an alternate history of the last seven hundred years. In his grandest work yet, the acclaimed storyteller constructs a world vastly different from the one we know....The Years of Rice and SaltIt is the fourteenth century and one of the most apocalyptic events in human history is set to occur-the coming of the Black Death. History teaches us that a third of Europe's population was destroyed.
- Hugo Awards
Showing 1-2 of the 2 most recent reviews
1 . Tremendous book
Posted July 09, 2009 by Jean , WaterlooTremendous book- I think Robinson's best. Historical alternative and interesting look at following a character through history via reincarnation. Loved the idea of the "Bardo." It is a place one goes before moving on to the next life time, and the things that happen there are fascinating.
2 . Fascinating
Posted December 02, 2008 by PenDever , AlbuquerqueYou have to pay attention, but it is worth it.
December 31, 2002
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Excerpt from The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson
Another journey west, Bold and Psin find an empty land; Temur is displeased, and the chapter has a stormy end.
Monkey never dies. He keeps coming back to help us in times of trouble, just as he helped Tripitaka through the dangers of the first journey to the west, to bring Buddhism from India to China.
Now he had taken on the form of a small Mongol named Bold Bardash, horseman in the army of Temur the Lame. Son of a Tibetan salt trader and a Mongol innkeeper and spirit woman, and thus a traveler from before the day of his birth, up and down and back and forth, over mountains and rivers, across deserts and steppes, crisscrossing always the heartland of the world. At the time of our story he was already old: square face, bent nose, gray plaited hair, four chin whiskers for a beard. He knew this would be Temur's last campaign, and wondered if it would be his too.
One day scouting ahead of the army, a small group of them rode out of dark hills at dusk. Bold was getting skittish at the quiet. Of course it was not truly quiet, forests were always noisy compared to the steppe; there was a big river ahead, spilling its sounds through the wind in the trees; but something was missing. Birdsong perhaps, or some other sound Bold could not quite identify. The horses snickered as the men kneed them on. It did not help that the weather was changing, long mare's tails wisping orange in the highest part of the sky, wind gusting up, air damp--a storm rolling in from the west. Under the big sky of the steppe it would have been obvious. Here in the forested hills there was less sky to be seen, and the winds were fluky, but the signs were still there.