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Harper Collins, Sep 9, 2008 - Fiction - 937 pages
115 Reviews

Anathem, the latest invention by the New York Times bestselling author of Cryptonomicon and The Baroque Cycle, is a magnificent creation: a work of great scope, intelligence, and imagination that ushers readers into a recognizable—yet strangely inverted—world.

Fraa Erasmas is a young avout living in the Concent of Saunt Edhar, a sanctuary for mathematicians, scientists, and philosophers, protected from the corrupting influences of the outside "saecular" world by ancient stone, honored traditions, and complex rituals. Over the centuries, cities and governments have risen and fallen beyond the concent's walls. Three times during history's darkest epochs violence born of superstition and ignorance has invaded and devastated the cloistered mathic community. Yet the avout have always managed to adapt in the wake of catastrophe, becoming out of necessity even more austere and less dependent on technology and material things. And Erasmas has no fear of the outside—the Extramuros—for the last of the terrible times was long, long ago.

Now, in celebration of the week-long, once-in-a-decade rite of Apert, the fraas and suurs prepare to venture beyond the concent's gates—at the same time opening them wide to welcome the curious "extras" in. During his first Apert as a fraa, Erasmas eagerly anticipates reconnecting with the landmarks and family he hasn't seen since he was "collected." But before the week is out, both the existence he abandoned and the one he embraced will stand poised on the brink of cataclysmic change.

Powerful unforeseen forces jeopardize the peaceful stability of mathic life and the established ennui of the Extramuros—a threat that only an unsteady alliance of saecular and avout can oppose—as, one by one, Erasmas and his colleagues, teachers, and friends are summoned forth from the safety of the concent in hopes of warding off global disaster. Suddenly burdened with a staggering responsibility, Erasmas finds himself a major player in a drama that will determine the future of his world—as he sets out on an extraordinary odyssey that will carry him to the most dangerous, inhospitable corners of the planet . . . and beyond.


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Wonderfully inventive, intriguing and educational. - LibraryThing
The plot was interesting and even exciting at times. - LibraryThing
And, astoundingly, there is an ending. - LibraryThing
Captivated me with it's universe and plot. - LibraryThing
I also didn't particularly care for the ending. - LibraryThing

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - CurrerBell - LibraryThing

I managed to struggle through this to the end and so I give it 1* (not the ½* that I would have given it if I'd simply tossed it). This is nothing more than a fairly standard space opera with a lot of metaphysical claptrap thrown in to stretch it out to nearly 900 pages. Read full review

Review: Anathem

User Review  - Violet wells - Goodreads

I'm amazed this was a bestseller – not because it's bad but because it's so difficult. “A brilliant playful tour of the terrain where logic, mathematics, philosophy and quantum physics intersects, a ... Read full review

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part 2 Apert
part 3 Eliger
part 4 Anathem
part 5 Voco
part 6 Peregrin
part 7 Feral
part 8 Orithena
part 9 Inbrase
part 11 Advent
part 12 Requiem
part 13 Reconstitution
Cutting the Cake
Hemn Configuration Space
Complex Versus Simple Protism

part 10 Messal

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About the author (2008)

Neal Stephenson is the author of Reamde, Anathem; the three-volume historical epic the Baroque Cycle (Quicksilver, The Confusion, and The System of the World); Cryptonomicon; The Diamond Age; Snow Crash, which was named one of Time magazine's top one hundred all-time best English-language novels; and Zodiac. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

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