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Publisher's Summary

Fraa Erasmus is a young avout living in the Concent of Saunt Edhar, a sanctuary for mathematicians, scientists, and philosophers, protected from the corrupting influences of the "Saecular" world by ancient stone, honored traditions, and complex rituals.

Over the centuries, cities, and governments have risen and fallen beyond the concent's walls. Three times during history's darkest epochs, bloody violence born of superstition and ignorance has invaded and devastated the cloistered mathic community. Yet always the avout have managed to adapt in the wake of catastrophe, becoming out of necessity more austere and less dependent on technology and material things. Erasmus, however, has no fear of the outside - the Extramuros - for the last of the terrible times was long, long ago.

Now, in celebration of the week-long, once-in-a-decade rite of Apert, the fras and suurs prepare to venture outside the concent's gates - opening them wide at the same time to welcome the curious "extras" in.

During his first Apert as a fra, Erasmus eagerly anticipates reconnecting with the landmarks and family he hasn't seen since he was "collected". But before the week is out, both the existence he abandoned and the one he embraced will stand poised on the perilous brink of cataclysmic change.

Powerful unforeseen forces threaten the peaceful stability of mathic life and the established ennui of the Extramuros - a threat that only an unsteady alliance of Saecular and avout can oppose - as, one by one, Raz's colleagues, teachers, and friends are all called forth from the safety of the concent in hopes of warding off global disaster.

Suddenly burdened with a worlds-shattering responsibility, Erasmus finds himself a major player in a drama that will determine the future of everything - as he sets out on an extraordinary odyssey that will carry him to the most dangerous, inhospitable corners of an unfamiliar planet...and far beyond.

©2008 Neal Stephenson; (P)2008 Macmillan Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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    2,524
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    1,101
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    418
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Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Great book

The book didn't start grabbing my interest until after chapter 17 but then it was a fun book.

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THIS IS A AMAZING BOOK...OUT OF 1000 BOOKS ...

..BOOKS ....MAYBE 15 FIVE STAR REVIEWS.
INGENIOUSLY NUANCED.
AUDIBLE, AUTHOR, AND ALL NARRATORS DID AND FANTASTIC JOB BRINGING IT OFF THE PAGE.

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Fantastic, but not an easy read.

This will make you think and it is well worth your time. However, it is slow moving. Otherwise it is one of my favorite books.

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Hardest and Best Payoff

More than even Cryptonomicon, Anathem requires an investment on the part of the reader, to get into the world Stephenson creates. Once there, however, its rich tapestry of social relations makes that world seem more real and inviting than our own. Stephenson's characters and settings form a beautifully detailed and joyful environment that serves as integral foundation for illustrating practical applications of Relational Quantum Physics.

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Such a fun, dorky read!

Neal Stephensons is such a master world crafter! He interweaves techy scifi and medieval monasticism so seamlessly. If you are a language geek, then you'll get a real kick out of this novel! (Also, great production--the chants between parts were awesome, literally!)

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Quirky, requires focus and repeated listens

Where does Anathem rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Top Two

What other book might you compare Anathem to and why?

I don't have anything to compare it to. It found it profoundly deep and considered. With a very fresh perspective

Which scene was your favorite?

Erasmus leading the tour thru the history of the avout.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No way. Too deep and too long. Need time to digest and think about stuff.

Any additional comments?

This book is weird. I may just be weird in the same way, because I loved it. Almost as much as I love Cryptonomicon.

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Decent, but tedious for much of the book

I listen to audio books every day while doing other things. The idea behind this universe is quite interesting, but it is almost lost in the mind numbing dialogs between the characters. Perhaps it would be better as a paper book, where one could easily skim expressed thoughts that are rehashed repeatedly. I also lost track of characters sometimes with their similar names and the lack of differentiation in the reading of their dialog.

In all, it's a good story that is drug out.

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Magnificent

Stephenson has created a cosmos in which a reader willing to pay attention can become helplessly entangled. Anathem is a brilliant exploration of philosophy and metaphysics wrapped in an engaging story and seasoned with scientific theory and societal hypotheticals.

The reader is spot-on, and the monastic chants punctuating each part are a beautiful touch. This is a must-listen.

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Fantastic and thought provoking

Dang, what a world. It's nice to see something fresh in the scifi fantasy realm. This world is certainly one and it has an intriguing story to boot. Though it is long it is even paced. I recomend it for deep thinkers, philosophers, and would be aesthetics.

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Good sci-fi

Nice long story with a lot of science detail. A bit slow in places but interest keeping overall.