The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. is a novel by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland. It’s not surprising it took two authors to write this novel as it covers a lot of genres. It’s sort of a fantasy/science fiction/spy thriller/comedy, with a dose of historical fiction thrown in.
The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. – Summary
The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. follows linguist Melanie Stokes as she falls into the murky world of espionage, magic and time travel. Melanie is recruited into this secret world by Tristan Lyons, a military intelligence officer. Together they enter a world of time-travelling, spies, magic, particle physics and governmental bureaucracy.
Melanie and Tristan jump backwards in time to various historical places and attempt to make small, but ultimately significant, changes to history. All with the help of some quarrelsome and mercurial witches.
The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. Review
The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. is a book with a lot going on inside it. So I’ve split the review into a few key elements in the hope that it will give you an idea of whether or not this book is for you.
They’ve done a lot of research
Both Stephenson and Galland are known for their research, and it shows. The various time periods our intrepid adventures go to are imagined with a detail only possible when the writers have spent a lot of time getting to know their subject matter. If the thought of spending time in Shakespeare’s London or standing with the Varangian Guard appeals, then this is a book for you.
It’s a fun adventure
There is so much going on in The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. it’s a struggle to say what one facet of the novel should take precedence if any. At its core, however, the novel is one great adventure. Although the plot is sometimes a little plodding, the journey the reader is taken on is compelling. It’s also fun. Although there may be some faults with the novel, I can guarantee it’s an enjoyable read.
It’s a good read but not a classic novel
It’s harsh to judge a book in relation to some of the great novels of science fiction. But if you were planning to read this novel because you loved Stephenson’s Anathem or Snow Crash then manage your expectations. This is a good novel, and reading it is a very pleasant way to pass the time, but it’s just not on the same level as those works. It lacks the mind-blowing depth of Stephenson’s best work. That doesn’t make it a bad read, it’s just not a great novel.