I spotted [livejournal.com profile] james_nicoll's review today, and belatedly remembered that yes, today is June 1. Somehow writing it on all those people's deposit slips didn't make that sink into my head.

The Lord of the Sands of Time is the story of a change-war1 ranging up and down humanity's past and future. The stakes are the entire human race. The ETs came in the future, and we lost the war to hold the inner solar system.

But we have time machines. But, no one's coming from the future to help us in our fight, which strongly suggests we don't have a future. So we send out AIs in cyborg bodies, Messengers, to defend humanity and change the past so we don't lose against the ETs.

The ETs have time machines, too, and they mean to wipe us out root and branch.

This story is told in alternating points-of-view, that of Lady Miyo in 200-something AD Japan, and that of Messenger O, one of the AI Messengers, all up and down the time-stream. With Lady Miyo, we get the story of one specific conflict against the ETs, while O shows us the beginnings and the choices the Messengers have made in their battles.

O comes across as very war-weary and only keeping going because stopping means the extinction of the human race. Lady Miyo wants to protect her people, at first in an abstract way then in a more personal way as the brutality of the war with the ETs washes over her land.

I read this book in a day, and I was so glad I started it on a day I had off from work because if I had had to put it down to go back to my teller window, I would have been miserable all the rest of the day. It was so engrossing and engaging, and I needed to find out how everything ended.

For some reason, the back-cover advertises this as a romance. Yes, there is something of a love story going on, but this book is not at all what I would call a romance.

Luna, you would probably like this.

If you try to look for The Lord of the Sands of Time in your local bookstore, I have no idea where you will find it. I found it in the SFF section, but I've seen reports of employees shelving Haikasoru books in the manga section due to their manga-esque covers and Japanese authors. I'd check both places, myself.

1. Think "Terminator" and "Back to the Future". A time-travel war where you're busy trying to change history out from underneath people, and they're trying to change it right back.


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Rebecca Hb.

December 2011

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