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The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

I can’t explain why, with so much current that I need to read, that I decided to pick up a book that isn’t out until June, but I’ve never claimed to make sense.

I’ve read Neal Stephenson before, although not extensively, so I was expecting an epic tome filled with politics and science, and a fair amount of snark. I was not disappointed. I’m afraid I haven’t read anything by Nicole Galland so I have no baseline for her work, but she’s renowned in historical writing circles.

Still, The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. ( we’re working on a drop-by with both authors, so keep your fingers crossed) caught me completely by surprise, in the best possible way!

Dr. Melisande Stokes is a historical linguist working as an adjunct professor in Cambridge, MA. However, we first meet her in 1851 London, writing down her story by whale oil light and trying not to spill ink on her borrowed dress, as she hopes to return to our century, although her hope is fading fast.

She was recruited to work for a shadowy government agency trying to get a new, experimental project off the ground. They needed a talented linguist who had few ties to the community, and Mel fit the bill. Little did she know that by agreeing to Tristan Lyon’s offer that her whole world would be transformed – quite literally.

I don’t want to say too much because a lot of the fun of The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. is figuring out things with Mel and all the other characters.

— Fran

July 2017 Indie Next List

“For someone who approaches such serious scientific and technological subjects, Neal Stephenson can be outrageously funny. Combine that with Nicole Galland's storytelling ability and you have a rollicking roller coaster of a novel. The authors mix together magic, witchcraft, time travel, science, and historical figures, both real and imagined, while delightfully skewering bumbling bureaucrats, pretentious academics, a rigid military, and other bastions of the establishment to produce a work that is both thought-provoking and totally entertaining.”
— Bill Cusumano (M), Square Books, Oxford, MS


From bestselling author Neal Stephenson and critically acclaimed historical and contemporary commercial novelist Nicole Galland comes a captivating and complex near-future thriller combining history, science, magic, mystery, intrigue, and adventure that questions the very foundations of the modern world.

When Melisande Stokes, an expert in linguistics and languages, accidently meets military intelligence operator Tristan Lyons in a hallway at Harvard University, it is the beginning of a chain of events that will alter their lives and human history itself. The young man from a shadowy government entity approaches Mel, a low-level faculty member, with an incredible offer. The only condition: she must sign a nondisclosure agreement in return for the rather large sum of money.

Tristan needs Mel to translate some very old documents, which, if authentic, are earth-shattering. They prove that magic actually existed and was practiced for centuries. But the arrival of the scientific revolution and the Age of Enlightenment weakened its power and endangered its practitioners. Magic stopped working altogether in 1851, at the time of the Great Exhibition at London's Crystal Palace--the world's fair celebrating the rise of industrial technology and commerce. Something about the modern world "jams" the "frequencies" used by magic, and it's up to Tristan to find out why.

And so the Department of Diachronic Operations--D.O.D.O. --gets cracking on its real mission: to develop a device that can bring magic back, and send Diachronic Operatives back in time to keep it alive . . . and meddle with a little history at the same time. But while Tristan and his expanding operation master the science and build the technology, they overlook the mercurial--and treacherous--nature of the human heart.

Written with the genius, complexity, and innovation that characterize all of Neal Stephenson's work and steeped with the down-to-earth warmth and humor of Nicole Galland's storytelling style, this exciting and vividly realized work of science fiction will make you believe in the impossible, and take you to places--and times--beyond imagining.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780062409164
ISBN-10: 0062409166
Publisher: William Morrow & Company
Publication Date: June 13th, 2017
Pages: 768
Language: English