Newton's Cannon (Age of Unreason, #1)
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Newton's Cannon (Age of Unreason #1)

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  981 ratings  ·  53 reviews
A dazzling quest whose outcome will raise humanity to unparalleled heights of glory--or ring down a curtain of endless night . . .

1681: When Sir Isaac Newton turns his restless mind to the ancient art of alchemy, he unleashes Philosopher's Mercury, a primal source of matter and a key to manipulating the four elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Now, as France and Engla...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published March 29th 1999 by Del Rey (first published 1998)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,928)
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Ben Babcock
I have fond memories of this trilogy from my youth. Or, more likely, of parts of this trilogy, both because in my rebellious heyday I read things out of sequence like it was nobody's business (because it wasn't) and because my library is very fond of buying books 2 and 3 but not book 1. So I can't recall if I ever read Newton”s Cannon, but it seemed like a good place to restart my journey through the Age of Unreason. Finding it for 30 p at a library sale was just icing on the cake—it even has th...more
Rob
I'll not say this is the most original novel ever written; after all, the what-if-the-alchemists-were-really-onto-something has been done before, in The Face in the Frost and elsewhere. But to include Benjamin Franklin in their ranks—that makes this stand out. Also, to anyone who's read Franklin's autobiography and knows something of his history, this novel will be interesting, I think.

It's odd, but I never thought of Franklin and Isaac Newton being contemporaries and, as they are of different g...more
Olethros
-Un Siglo de las Luces steampunk-fantástico.-

Género. Narrativa fantástica.

Lo que nos cuenta. Tras una breve introducción que nos presenta diferentes situaciones de la vida de los tres personajes principales en la trama, Newton, Luis XIV y Benjamin Franklin, que no estrictamente los tres protagonistas de la historia, el libro nos lleva a la segunda década del siglo XVII en un mundo muy parecido al nuestro pero en el que la “alquimia racional” es la ciencia que está transformando el mundo y que pu...more
Spotsalots
Apr 27, 2014 Spotsalots added it
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
I have no recollection of how this book came into my house, but it proved to be a fairly entertaining alternate-reality sort of fiction with Ben Franklin (as a child and teen) and Louis XIV (in old age) as two of the main characters. It's quite imaginative and uses actual history to create a completely different world. On the other hand, the narrative style made me wonder if it was written for bright 14-year-olds (like Ben in the book) rather than for adults. If it was really aimed at that age g...more
Greg
I got about 3/4 of the way through this one and just ran out of patience with this book. all the elements are here. alternate history, magic in a semi modern era, American history. but that was not enough for me. The story just kind of fell flat and I was just bored after a while. even after the big calamity I was just wondering why I was here and I was 3/4 of the way through, at 3/4 I should know whats up and I didn't so I had to step away or I was just gonna get angry.

A real interesting start...more
Robin Wiley
Greg Keyes is one of my favorite fantasy authors. I love his style. Nearly every chapter ends in a cliff hanger of some sort. It forces you to read like a machine, which is very sad when you reach the end, but very fun while you're reading.

Keyes magic is based on physical harmonies. Tune into the right frequency, and channel the powers of the Divine. Oooh! Did I mention there's a war in Heaven? (I know!!!)

This fantasy world is earth, placed in the 18th century, and follows some historical as wel...more
Deale Hutton
Hard to rate this one. I like the alternative universe where people like Louis XIV and Ben Franklin exist. Very cleverly done including known and fictitious characters. I thought the character development was pretty good, and the science interlaced with alchemy and magic was fun. This is a series, and while I will read book 2, I do not like that the book does not really stand alone.
Gregor Xane
This one started a bit slow but got better and better as it went along. About a quarter of the way through it suddenly became a real page-turner. I've read a number of reviews complaining about the ending. I didn't have a problem with it, as I knew this was the first in a series. And I'll now be on the look out for volume two.
Chris Stanley
Outstanding; first book in a (4-book!) trilogy. Don't ask, read them all.
Adysnewbox
I am hard-pressed to write an in-depth review of this book...I read it during a particularly busy patch of my life, and I worry I was so distracted I missed a lot of texture and detail. If I could use one word to describe this book, it is WEIRD.

If you enjoy either alternate history or steampunk, then I definitely recommend trying out this series. I kind of love it that Benjamin Franklin (a true "renaissance man" and early scientific genius) is the protagonist here...it's fun to imagine all his e...more
Althea Ann
I just read "Dark Matter," which puts the character of Isaac Newton in a Sherlock Holmes-type role, so when I realized I had another book featuring Mr. Newton, I decided to compare and contrast.

Well, this book isn't so much about Isaac Newton. It's actually more about Ben Franklin. (!) But then again... it's not really about Ben Franklin. I tend, in general, to dislike books that name-check famous historical characters to the extent that this one does, but it didn't bother me in this book. It to...more
Nicolas
L’uchronie est, au sein de la science-fiction, une espèce particulière de roman, donnant toute sa force à cette phrase d’Alexandre Dumas : "on peut violer l’Histoire, à condition de lui faire de beaux enfants.". Et ce roman en est l’un des exemples enthousiasmants : sur une hypothèse historique assez osée (que se serait-il passé si Newton avait poussé plus avant ses études alchimiques) l’auteur nous dépeint un siècle des lumières où la technologie fait déja une apparition très remarquée, quoique...more
Mistydawn Thrash
Follow along with Benjamin Franklin, John Collins, Sir Issac Newton, kings, dukes, armies, tzars, and common folk as they unravel the mysteries of the physics, cosmos, and human greed. For love of country, for love of heart, for love of mankind.....read this book to find out which wins.

I was truly surprised that I like this book. Reading the title and the insert I rolled my eyes in anticipating a cheesy sci-fi novel with ridiculousness. It was a sci-fi novel, there was some ridiculousness, a lit...more
Derek
Setting an alternate history in the Age of Enlightenment is an intriguing concept: human understanding of the universe was in its infancy. Putting an alternate system of physics into the hands of Enlightenment thinkers, tinkerers, and builders would result in some interesting developments, both for industry and society as well as the turbulent politics of the age.

After reading, the thing that bothers me is the character of Trevor Bracewell, the pursuer of Benjamin Franklin. Early in the story hi...more
Kathi
This alternate history is chock-full of unusual ideas and interesting characters, from a pre-teen Ben Franklin to King Louis XIV of France. The mix of science and alchemy, natural and supernatural, knowledge and instinct is what kept my mind occupied and the pages turning.

One of the things I really liked is that no one is blameless. The characters, even when acting in good faith, do dangerous things with unseen consequences. There are agents and spies playing both sides of the game, especially i...more
Sailledolfijn
Feb 17, 2014 Sailledolfijn marked it as to-read
Set in alternate history of america where magic works. Very unique according to bestfantasybooks.com
Shauna Scheets
Fun story that makes you want to re-visit history of the period.
Ashley
If you liked His Dark Materials trilogy by Pullman, this one has similar magic/daemon elements in it, but is a bit more steampunky. Loved all of the cool ideas in this series and the characters were awesome. Not being American, I didn't think I'd give a crap about Ben Franklin, but I liked him and found all of the historical details really interesting. Wasn't sure about the "mystical American Indian" stuff that comes up later in the series, but considering that the mysticism isn't unique to him,...more
Charlie
This was an interesting read to pass the day. Of course its hard to say if it was truly interesting or it seemed interesting because I was in bed sick [you know how anything else but how you feel can be interesting when you're sick, ya its like that].

What I really enjoyed was seeing historical figures who've been made into larger than life icons [okay not to everyone] given personality and substance beyond dry biographical minutia. I hope to pick up the next volume from the library soon.
Andrew
This is the first work of Greg Keyes I have read and although the english used (it is after all reflecting the period it is set in) did slow me down (not a bad thing at times) i did thoroughly enjoy it. this is the first of 4 so its time to dig the next one out and see where the story goes I wont comment on the story line yet as to be honest its only really setting the scene and i haven't got a clue where its going but i am looking forward to finding out.
Kevin
Really liked this book... An alternate history of the 17th century, they only thing that stopped me from giving it a five was that I wanted it to be a book without the mysterious creatures, for me they just seem to take away from the story... but who knows as I read the story II may like them more... If you like fantasy and alt history give this one a try.
Tommy
Excellent alternate history sci-fi/fantasy. 14-year old Benjamin Franklin is one of the main characters, as well as a young woman in the court of Louis the "Sun King" of France. Fascinating alchemical inventions involving a substance called "philosopher's mercury," and evil angels who protect and manipulate kings. I'm ready for the 2nd volume in the series!
L.C. Frey
Spitze! Hier noch relativ bodenständige Alternative-History-Story. Routiniert. Klasse erzählt, stark. Und dann (ab Teil 2) wird es immer besser ... habe selten eine Reihe so verschlungen.
Ellen
Good thing I read a description of this book before seeing the super-cheesy cover. It's a great premise--what if Sir Isaac Newton had figured out the secrets of alchemy instead of modern science?--and though I felt it wasn't carried out as well as it could have been, it was a fun summer read and I'll probably read the rest of the books in the series.
Becky
an interesting take on historical/science fiction. One path following Ben Franklin as a boy, and another following the French court. The problem is the characters of the French court were drawn so much better, and the author didn't feel the need to make their dialogue so stilted, so jumping back to the Ben Franklin line was almost painful.
Eli
The book's descriptive blurb is surprisingly decent as an abstract of the story, so I won't expand on that. Keyes' portrayal of alchemy was interesting, and the world in which lines between science, magic, and mysticism are somewhat blurry, was so much fun to discover as the story progressed that I don't want to ruin any of that for you.
Tal
a slow moving book, it took more than half its 400 pages to get into it.

the alt. history is fascinating, the politics slightly less so - but the story of Adrienne (the French queen's private secretary, later king's mistress and aspiring scientist in an era where women were not considered capable of it) is intriguing.
Whatsits
Alternate universe, in which magic and the Enlightenment mix. Thoroughly enjoyable, and rather humorous (a slightly dark sort of humor, for Keyes, who writes a lot of children's literature). I especially enjoyed the characterizations of Newton and other well-known historical figures.
Catherine Guisinskaya
Мастерское сочетание реальности, вымысла и домысла. Единственный, на мой взгляд, недостаток - именитые действующие лица получились не совсем настоящими. Осталось ощущение, что автор, балансируя между реальными личностями и их собственной версией, забыл наделить их душой и мотивацией.
Salimbol
A pleasure to return to Keyes' work - this time set in an alternate version of the 17th century, with a very clever extrapolation of the era's scientific knowledge/magic and some excellent characterisation. Looking forward to the next one!
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What's The Name o...: altenate history science fiction [s] 9 77 Mar 09, 2013 03:47AM  
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Gregory Keyes is a writer of science fiction and fantasy who has written both original and media-related novels under both the names J. Gregory Keyes and "Greg Keyes".

Greg Keyes was born in to a large, diverse, storytelling family. He received degrees in anthropology from Mississippi State and the University of George before becoming a fulltime writer.
He lives in Savannah, Georgia.
More about Greg Keyes...
The Briar King (Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone, #1) Conquest (Edge of Victory, #1) (Star Wars: The New Jedi Order, #7) Rebirth (Edge of Victory, #2) (Star Wars: The New Jedi Order, #8) The Charnel Prince (Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone, #2) The Final Prophecy (Star Wars: New Jedi Order, #18)

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