Quietus
A transdimensional anthropologist can't keep herself from interfering with Earth's darkest period of history in this brilliant science fiction debutNiccolucio, a young Florentine Carthusian monk, leads a devout life until the Black Death kills all of his brothers, leaving him alone and filled with doubt. Habidah, an anthropologist from another universe racked by plague, is overwhelmed by the suffering. Unable to maintain her observer neutrality, she saves Niccolucio from the brink of death.Habidah discovers that neither her home's plague nor her assignment on Niccolucio's world are as she's been led to believe. Suddenly the pair are drawn into a worlds-spanning conspiracy to topple an empire larger than the human imagination can contain.File Under: Science Fiction

Quietus Details

TitleQuietus
Author
ReleaseMar 6th, 2018
PublisherAngry Robot
ISBN-139780857667434
Rating
GenreScience Fiction, Fiction, Fantasy

Quietus Review

  • Bradley
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC!This book is going to be a difficult one to review because it breaks a lot of normal conventions. The first half of the novel reads like a good outsider/anthropological exploration of our Black Plague from the PoV of a visitor from an alternate universe (the many-concurrent-universes brane). The second half reads like an outright space-opera full of huge ships and a truly immense population across space and branes and a plague that threatens to wipe them all out. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC!This book is going to be a difficult one to review because it breaks a lot of normal conventions. The first half of the novel reads like a good outsider/anthropological exploration of our Black Plague from the PoV of a visitor from an alternate universe (the many-concurrent-universes brane). The second half reads like an outright space-opera full of huge ships and a truly immense population across space and branes and a plague that threatens to wipe them all out. Similarities? Of course. Direct-line similarities, even, and it gets even more interesting when we have nearly godlike extradimensional civilizations involved in long conflicts with each other and with their own followers. Adding a monk from the middle ages asking important questions about God and why he lets bad things happen becomes another direct mirror to the subjects in these huge extradimensional empires and god-like beings involved in plague warfare. The structure of this novel is pretty top-notch. I can ruminate about it for a long time and still find some really great questions and explorations. I've barely scratched the surface here.On the other side of the coin, the factor of how much fun the novel is, how easy it is to read, boils down to how much you like heavy doses of historical fiction. I saw HUGE comparisons to be made between the front half of this novel and Connie Willis's Doomsday Book. Her's was time traveling historians getting stuck in the Black Plague and Tristan's was the moral and ethical quandaries of a multiverse-hopping anthropologist. I enjoyed it well enough and it went in quite interesting directions when it came to messing with indigenous cultures (in a very Prime Directive way) and the question of unintended consequences in timeline-development.The second half of the novel was spaceships and AI companions and godlike beings messing with all us puny mortals in a very high-class SF full of action, more ethical quandaries, the fate of two vast empires.My initial reaction as I was reading it was mixed. I liked it well enough but I wanted something juicier and more exploratory. It just felt like a number of other novels I've loved, also including KSR's Years of Rice and Salt and Michael Flynn's Eifelheim. I did eventually get it. It just took a while to really flow into the historical fiction slant because, with that cover, I really expected the later explosion of big SF. :) No worries. It's there.This was something rather interesting. I really enjoy the chances it takes. :)
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    Review should be up on B&N soon!
  • Mike
    January 1, 1970
    3.0 out of 5 starsMy thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.With the assistance of a Carthusian monk, anthropologists from distant planes of the multiverse study the spread of the Black Death on Earth to better understand the plague that is ravaging their home civilization.Ah yes, the ol’ Carthusian monk meets transdimensional anthropologist story that we’ve all read a thousand times before. But seriously, this is a bold swing from a fr 3.0 out of 5 starsMy thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.With the assistance of a Carthusian monk, anthropologists from distant planes of the multiverse study the spread of the Black Death on Earth to better understand the plague that is ravaging their home civilization.Ah yes, the ol’ Carthusian monk meets transdimensional anthropologist story that we’ve all read a thousand times before. But seriously, this is a bold swing from a fresh new voice in speculative fiction. Author Tristan Palmgren deserves major points for creativity, even though this historical fiction/science fiction mashup wasn’t totally my cup of tea.I very much enjoyed the characterization of the monk Niccoluccio Caracciola, who, aside from having a great name, was my favorite character to follow. He functions as a reader proxy, who experiences the infiltration of the anthropologists and gets swept up into a massive conspiracy while tackling his own internal conflict that evolves over the course of the novel. Niccoluccio’s perspective grounds the narrative in some semblance of reality before the story careens away into a somewhat convoluted direction.Quietus functions most effectively when it's focused on its historical fiction beats and stumbles as it delves deeper into inaccessible science fiction elements. This, combined with slow pacing, and a story that feels 150 pages too long, leads to a lower rating than I wanted to give. Author Palmgren has a knack for original storytelling, but the blending of two disparate genres didn’t quite work for me.See this review and others at The Speculative Shelf.
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  • Coolcurry
    January 1, 1970
    Quietus is a debut novel that combines historical fiction with science fiction. It has some elements I appreciated, but ultimately, I wasn’t wowed by it.Habidah, an anthropologist from another dimension, has been sent to our world, during the Black Death’s sweep over Europe. Her own home, a set of alternate realities bound together by an AI-ruled trans-dimensional empire, is being devastated by its own, mysterious plague, and the goal is to learn cooping strategies by studying how Europe reacts Quietus is a debut novel that combines historical fiction with science fiction. It has some elements I appreciated, but ultimately, I wasn’t wowed by it.Habidah, an anthropologist from another dimension, has been sent to our world, during the Black Death’s sweep over Europe. Her own home, a set of alternate realities bound together by an AI-ruled trans-dimensional empire, is being devastated by its own, mysterious plague, and the goal is to learn cooping strategies by studying how Europe reacts to the Black Death. Habidah is supposed to be a neutral observer, but in the face of such suffering, she struggles to hold on to her neutrality, eventually making the decision to rescue one person: the monk Niccolucio. Niccolucio discovers there’s much more to the universe than he imagined, and, surprisingly, Habidah discovers the same.To start off with, I think the plot structure was weak. It takes quite a while for Habidah and Niccolucio to come into contact with each other and even longer for the main trans-dimensional conflict to pick up speed. Basically, I felt like the story didn’t get started until around 60% into the book. Also, I never found the plot that interesting. There’s some concepts that are intriguing, such as the trans-dimensional empire and the plague that’s destroying its people on the molecule level. I found those elements satisfying, but somehow I kept considering putting the book down. I think overall there’s a lack of tension and pacing.Going into Quietus, I was 95% sure that there’d end up being a romance between Habidah and Niccolucio. Look, I’ve read enough books to know to expect it, all right! However, in this instance I was actually wrong. There’s no romantic subplot in Quietus, which was quite refreshing. As for Habidah and Niccolucio themselves, neither was entirely memorable. I didn’t dislike them while reading, but they’re not compelling either. Sort of like the book as a whole?The setting did feel believable and well researched, and I appreciated the innovative touches the science fiction added to the historical. I do think that Quietus suffers in comparison to Connie Willis’s Doomsday Book, which similarly combines science fiction with a historical fiction portrayal of the Black Death but with stronger pacing and an emotional center. Oh, well.In conclusion, Quietus has a couple of interesting concepts but with hum-drum execution. I’m not planning on reading any sequels.I received an ARC in exchange for a free and honest review.Review originally posted on The Illustrated Page.
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  • Rachel Noel
    January 1, 1970
    *Free copy for an honest review.This book does an interesting thing. It manages a tight balance between exposition, philosophy and story that keeps this book interesting. With as long as this book is and with as little action as there is, there was the risk of being boring, but Palmgren does a great job of keeping all the elements in line so that I was still engaged in the reading. I never drifted off or loss interest because all the elements at play were kept balanced. Palmgren also keeps the m *Free copy for an honest review.This book does an interesting thing. It manages a tight balance between exposition, philosophy and story that keeps this book interesting. With as long as this book is and with as little action as there is, there was the risk of being boring, but Palmgren does a great job of keeping all the elements in line so that I was still engaged in the reading. I never drifted off or loss interest because all the elements at play were kept balanced. Palmgren also keeps the mystery of the powers at play just out of reach enough that I had to keep reading because I couldn't guess and I was as curious as the characters. It was genuinely interesting to read the juxtaposition of the advanced, interplanar society next to the medieval, scientifically illiterate world. To see the similarities between how the amalgamates are treated and how God is thought of. To read about the varying reactions to an unstoppable, unpredictable disease. The attitude that Habidah's team has towards the "backward" people of Nicculoccio's world and the reverence Nicculoccio has towards Habidah's world makes for an interesting dynamic and conversation.Then there are the thought experiments/meditations. Does the amalgamates refusal to cure the Black Plague equal the force that causes the plague in Habidah's world? Are they equally evil or is one worse than the other? Does the knowledge that nothing you do matters liberate you or trap you? How do you keep moving forward when everything seems pointless or trivial?As much as I love books with high action and low exposition, every now and then it's good to stretch my brain with a book like this. A book with more philosophy and story than action, but still well balanced and interesting. If you're a fan of historical fiction looking to branch into Sci-Fi or looking for heavier read in general, I recommend this book. It's got plenty of power play drama, religious in-fighting and some actual fighting. It's also got new worlds to discover and governments to destroy.
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  • Kam
    January 1, 1970
    This review is based on an ARC given to me for free by the publisher, Angry Robot Books. This does not in any way affect my review. The novel is slated for release on March 6, 2018.... I think this story is, at its core, a call to action. I think it is quite clear that the world is not in a good place right now, that change is desperately needed if humanity is to continue surviving and living with itself for the rest of its existence. But as long as people continue standing on the sidelines, as This review is based on an ARC given to me for free by the publisher, Angry Robot Books. This does not in any way affect my review. The novel is slated for release on March 6, 2018.... I think this story is, at its core, a call to action. I think it is quite clear that the world is not in a good place right now, that change is desperately needed if humanity is to continue surviving and living with itself for the rest of its existence. But as long as people continue standing on the sidelines, as long as people do nothing, then change will never happen. There is no such thing as an “apolitical” choice, because even choosing to do nothing, for whatever reason, is a political act. And if there is one, single thing that is truly hindering change for the better in this world, it is that: the choice to do nothing. Choosing to take action is difficult, and will very certainly be fraught with pain and hardship, but it is better than closing one’s eyes and choosing to pretend that all is right with the world.Full review here: https://wp.me/p21txV-Fl
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  • Brandon St Mark
    January 1, 1970
    Found out about this from some article on my Facebook timeline and it sounded pretty interesting and unique. I thought it was interesting that, as I'm reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the author's last name of this book is the same as Lisbeth Salander's original guardian. Just an odd coincidence.
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