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Publisher's Summary

In the reign of President Deklan Comstock, a reborn United States is struggling back to prosperity. Over a century after the Efflorescence of Oil, after the Fall of the Cities, after the Plague of Infertility, after the False Tribulation, after the days of the Pious Presidents, the 60 stars and thirteen stripes wave from the plains of Athabaska to the national capital in New York City.In Colorado Springs, the Dominion sees to the nation's spiritual needs. In Labrador, the Army wages war on the Dutch. America, unified, is rising once again.Then, out of Labrador come tales of a new Ajax - Captain Commongold, the Youthful Hero of the Saguenay. The ordinary people follow his adventures in the popular press. The Army adores him. The President is...troubled. Especially when the dashing Captain turns out to be his nephew Julian, son of the falsely accused and executed Bryce. Treachery and intrigue dog Julian's footsteps. Hair's-breadth escapes and daring rescues fill his days. Stern resolve and tender sentiment dice for Julian's soul, while his admiration for the works of the Secular Ancients, and his adherence to the evolutionary doctrines of the heretical Darwin, set him at fatal odds with the hierarchy of the Dominion. Plague and fire swirl around the Presidential palace when at last he arrives with the acclamation of the mob.If Jules Verne had read Karl Marx, then sat down to write The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, he still wouldn't have matched the invention and exuberance of Robert Charles Wilson's Julian Comstock. As told by Julian's best friend and faithful companion, a rustic yet observant lad from the west, this tale of the 22nd Century asks - and answers - the age-old question: "Do you want to tell the truth, or do you want to tell a story?"
©2009 Robert Charles Wilson; (P)2009 Macmillan Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By William on 07-27-09

Excellent tragedy with very good narration

Julian Comstock is an unusual story for science fiction, a 16th century tragedy, presented in a 19th century style, set in the 22nd century. It's also a first person account written by a friend of the title character, which has the consequence of leaving much about Julian, and about the world in which the story is set, unexplained. If you're looking for an uplifting adventure story, or a geeky exposition on post-collapse technology, you might look elsewhere. But if you like a good story, beautifully told, check this one out. Although the stories and characters are quite different, the tone reminded me a bit of The Great Gatsby, particularly Fitzgerald's last line: "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." The narration is very well done, though a bit melancholic, but it fits the nature of the tale. Like a previous reviewer, I really didn't want this one to end.

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6 of 7 people found this review helpful


By RKR on 07-08-10

Vivid characters and great dialogue

This was my first Robert Charles Wilson novel, and I can tell that his strength is in characterization and dialogue. The setting reminded me of Orson Scott Card's THE TALES OF ALVIN MAKER series in that it is a 19th century setting but a post apocolyptic idea without the doom and gloom of THE ROAD. Wilson's characters are well drawn with desires and motivations that are universal. Julian Comstock would have been my pick for the HUGO award.

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4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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