The Years of Rice and Salt

Front Cover
Bantam Books, 2003 - Fiction - 763 pages
771 Reviews
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 Salt

It 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. But what if? What if the plague killed 99 percent of the population instead? How would the world have changed? This is a look at the history that could have been–a history that stretches across centuries, a history that sees dynasties and nations rise and crumble, a history that spans horrible famine and magnificent innovation. These are the years of rice and salt.

This is a universe where the first ship to reach the New World travels across the Pacific Ocean from China and colonization spreads from west to east. This is a universe where the Industrial Revolution is triggered by the world’s greatest scientific minds–in India. This is a universe where Buddhism and Islam are the most influential and practiced religions and Christianity is merely a historical footnote.

Through the eyes of soldiers and kings, explorers and philosophers, slaves and scholars, Robinson renders an immensely rich tapestry. Rewriting history and probing the most profound questions as only he can, Robinson shines his extraordinary light on the place of religion, culture, power, and even love on such an Earth. From the steppes of Asia to the shores of the Western Hemisphere, from the age of Akbar to the present and beyond, here is the stunning story of the creation of a new world.

From the Hardcover edition.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Review: The Years of Rice and Salt

User Review  - Goodreads

This alternative history novel provides an interesting premise. If Europe and Christianity had been wiped out as a result of the black plague how would the forces of politics, science, religion, and culture have shaped the modern world. Read full review

Review: The Years of Rice and Salt

User Review  - Monique - Goodreads

The plot of the novel intrigued me enough to read the book. I have always been a fan of alternative fiction and after reading Fatherland by Robert Harris I had to read another. So I purchased this ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2003)

Kim Stanley Robinson is the author of the Nebula and Hugo Award—winning Mars trilogy: Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars, as well as The Martians, Antarctica, The Wild Shore, The Gold Coast, Pacific Edge, A Short, Sharp Shock, and other novels. He lives in Davis, California.

From the Hardcover edition.

Bibliographic information