ross benjamin

FROM BOOKLIST, SEPTEMBER 1, 2013

Nicholas of Cusa, otherwise known as Cusanus, was a fifteenth-century German philosopher, astronomer, and humanist. He's not the star of this novel, but he and his ideas -- one idea in particular -- play a key role. Originally published in Germany in 2005, the novel is set several decades in the future, in a world very different from the present. A nuclear disaster has spread radiation over Europe, causing environmental and political upheaval that threatens to wipe out the human race. When Domenica Ligrina, a biologist in Italy, is offered a job at a research institute, she doesn't expect that she will be instrumental in pulling humanity back from the brink of extinction if she can bridge the gap between past and present. There are similarities here to Michael Crichton's Timeline (1999) and the movie Twelve Monkeys, but Jeschke forges his own path, creating a near-future world that is terrifyingly real and a deep-past world that is, in its own way, just as terrifying. -- David Pitt