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Publisher's Summary

In a not-too-distant future that is not quite ours, there has been a major scientific breakthrough. It is a way to open windows into the past, permitting historical researchers to view, but not participate, in the events of the past. In one of the most powerful and thought-provoking novels of his remarkable career, Orson Scott Card interweaves a compelling portrait of Christopher Columbus with the story of a future scientist who believes she can alter human history from a tragedy of bloodshed and brutality to a world filled with hope and healing.
©1996 Orson Scott Card (P)2005 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"A bold and compassionate alternative history filled with believable historical and fictional characters." ( Library Journal)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Alaskak64 on 08-04-08


I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have read a few of the other reviews for this novel and was surprised to find a lot of negativity with respect to the historical and philosophical content. I enjoyed listening to the lives of people of whom I'd only briefly heard in history text books. It reminded me in that way of the Ken Follet book, Pillars. The characters from 500 years ago seemed more real, believable, and far less boring then I'd originally thought. The philosophical dialogues about time travel and reality, while a bit difficult, were just a small part of the novel. And I believe it's good to think about difficult and strange things sometimes.
I have read and listened to many of OSC's books and have enjoyed all that I've come across. This book, while perhaps not as Sci-Fi as some might expect, was very entertaining. The characters were moving, and the narrators were great - You'll recognize the narrators from the Ender's Game series. Several times I found myself stalling whatever errand I had to get to so that I could find out what would happen next - a sure sign of a good thing.
I thought this book was wonderful, and would definitely recommend it.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

By Michael on 04-29-08

Thanks Uncle Orson

I read this book originally when I was in Afghanistan in 2003. I remember that I got a brand new copy out of a sack of books that some good citizen sent over as a care package. What a treat. I remember at the time that I was rereading old John Grisham novels; audiobooks were something that I was barely into at the time, In Germany I had bought some Left Behind audiobooks at the PX, that's probably what really got me hooked, but I had long since listened to those and this book was fresh material. Anywho, I couldn't put this book down once I got into it back then, and likewise I couldn't stop listening to this audiobook once I got into it recently. I had forgotten some things about the book in the past five years. It's amazing to go back and listen to books that you've read and pick up on things you'd missed.

The book is a really great concept and it kind of makes you think real hard about the influences that shape history, and how a handful of motivated people really push things in the world, and between my two readings it made me think of how my impressions have been influenced by recent history and how I have changed in the past five years. Only great books have that power.

Also I would like to thank Orson Scott Card for his new Sci-Fi review page on I had wondered out loud in a previous review what Mr. Card thought of I suppose that he has given his endorsement and this is good. For me audible is the most valuable service on the internet aside from iTunes. I would never have discovered a book like Star Born without his suggestion, and right now I have Star Born and Star Dance in my shopping cart. Time to head off to the stars. Thanks again.

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15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Helen on 05-24-11

How history should have been.

Pastwatch - a group of people who research and record history through the use of viewing machines who realise that intervention may be needed to help their future and improve the past. I don't know enough about history to know if this book is factually accurate, but importantly for what is a work of fiction, it *feels* accurate, it feels as if this is how things happened and so makes the future (past?) changes possible. I find it a haunting and beautiful book and at the end I always wish that this past was how things had been.

This has been one of my favourite books for a long time, but to hear it read by such an excellent cast just enhanced the experience. I used to skim some sections but with an audiobook you can't do that, you have to listen to it all and that is a good thing as those sections are much more interesting when read aloud in the different voices. The voice actors used for all of the Orson Scott Card audiobooks I have listened to so far (the entire Ender series) have done yet another fantastic job. It has now reached the stage that I don't just search for an author's books, I search for the readers too and would be willing to try new authors if they are doing the narration. My only quibble is that I'd like to know more about who reads each part, perhaps a line at the end from each reader stating their name would be nice as they deserve full credit for what they each do.

This sort of experience is why I joined Audible.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

By sarahmoose2000 on 02-12-11

Sci-Fi History Mash

Not being one for sci-fi, I was wary of this, but loved OS Card's other standalone books.

It's actually really good! Pastwatch is an organisation in the future which looks back over time and charts the roots of various events. A group of workers decide to intervene with Christopher Colombus' famous voyage in order to save future earth.

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