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Isle of Woman (Geodyssey, #1)
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Isle of Woman (Geodyssey #1)

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  1,851 Ratings  ·  81 Reviews
A magnificent saga of passion, heroism, and survival, Piers Anthony's Isle of Woman is a tale like no other ever written. It is nothing less than the story of humanity itself, from its savage origins to its troubled future, told through the lives on one family reborn throughout history.

At once grand in scope and intimate in human detail, Isle of Woman tells the story of a
Paperback, 470 pages
Published September 15th 1994 by Tor Fantasy (first published 1993)
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This book has left me somewhat torn. On one hand, as an environmental scientist I feel that the message of the book is sound: humans are clearly causing their destruction through their inability to maintain their population. It continues to logistically grow and yet we do seemingly nothing to contain it.

But the book itself falls short. The writing is very interesting how he follows man through time since the beginning and tracks its progress towards the present. Many of the mini-stories are cute
M Strawberry
Next to Incarnations of Immortality, this is Piers Anthony's best work. The research seems accurate, and it is clear that Mr. Anthony took this research in mind as he wrote the stories in this book. I found myself interested in the first two stories, that happened millions of years ago.

My beef is Blaze and Ember's long separation, and their instant knowledge of their past lives when they finally come face to face in the future (last story) That was such a cheesy and contrived ending. I would hav
Benjamin Thomas
Sep 10, 2010 Benjamin Thomas rated it really liked it
Piers Anthony is known for his long-standing interest in unique puzzles and has often incorporated interesting puzzles and riddles into his books. He uses the technique very well in other novels but in this book, he has gone one step further. The premise of using one set of characters to live their lives through all of human history is an incredible idea in the first place but his masterful execution of it is simply wonderful. Despite the complexity of the task, Piers doesn't let that get in the ...more
David Nichols
Nov 13, 2012 David Nichols rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
This 1993 novel answers the burning question "What would CLOUD ATLAS look like if it had been written by Piers Anthony?" The author uses multiple incarnations of a single extended family to examine what he considers important episodes in the evolutionary and cultural history of mankind: the development of language, the colonization of Australia, the development of art, the establishment of the first cities, and so forth. A few of the chapters tell genuinely interesting stories (e.g. the sections ...more
Brian R. Mcdonald
Sep 24, 2010 Brian R. Mcdonald rated it really liked it
Isle of Woman is the first volume in Anthony's Geodyssey tetralogy. Shame of Man, Hope of Earth, and Muse of Art complete the series. Each of the chapters [20 per book] is essentially a self-contained short story. Each story is set in a different era and a different part of the world, but all of the stories in any one volume feature the same group of characters under different names. For example, Isle of Woman tells the story of two families as they might have existed in the Rift Valley of east ...more
Feb 05, 2016 Laura rated it liked it
Piers Anthony’s Isle of Woman is a monumental epic of unprecedented drama and scope, retelling the saga of humankind in a unique and dramatic way. The culmination of more than a quarter century of research, it is a stunningly ambitious achievement from a master of imaginative fiction. At once grand in scope and intimate in human detail, Isle of Woman tells the story of a man and a woman born at the dawn of human history, separated by fate, yet united by an unquenchable passion that e
Sep 23, 2012 Cyberpope rated it it was amazing
My review of the full Gheodyssey series.

Most excellent!

Anthony has done his own original reseatch into the origins of mankind, & developed this series to condense millionsd of years into 5 books.

He uses a unique approach of creating one set of characters who carry through from stomne age man to sometime in our near future.

He does this by assigning, at first two-letter names(eg "Ug") &, in each succeeding era, he expands the name one letter longer, but keeps many of the same personality &
Mar 02, 2010 Mark rated it did not like it
Well, one star is for books I couldn't finish, so you know how this is going to go. The book is a walk through ancient history, beginning with knuckle dragging apes, evolving past Neanderthals and on towards modern man. (I didn't get far past Neanderthal).

It has a neat plot device of introducing the same characters throughout, telling short (5-10 page) vignettes about different periods in human history, always with a scientifically reasonable plot and setting, but always treating, and this is t
Thomas Quatrale
May 04, 2014 Thomas Quatrale rated it liked it
Enjoyable read, belief in evolution and reincarnation not required, but might help. I believe in the former, not the latter.
Interesting idea, following the lives of the same individuals, reincarnated time and time again throughout human prehistory and history. I found myself researching the historical settings of these stories, which added to the experience. The author clearly believes the human race is on a collision course to its own demise, and he may be right, or not, I have not decided. I c
Dec 24, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it
Re-read this book just now, and it holds up as well as I remember. This whole series is interesting, following the same characters through the book but with each chapter advancing in time through human history. In the beginning of the book, it is the dawn of mankind and language is just being invented. By the end of each book in the series, we are looking at a different possible future. Interspersed throughout are historical fact and a really compelling story. The style for this first novel ...more
Apr 23, 2016 Jim rated it it was ok
I think this book tried to be too many things and ended up failing at all of them by not really spending enough time on any one aspect to make it successful. Covering several million years, even at 400-plus pages, and trying to build a narrative with "recurring" characters, historical overviews, evolutionary points, and spending too little time on each ultimately leaves each suffering from lack of proper attention. Anthony's keen interest in the sexuality of young girls is about the only thing ...more
Dec 16, 2009 Joey rated it it was amazing
These books are simply amazing. The concept sounds gimmicky, but it works quite well. The trilogy follows a family through the eons of human development. At the beginning, they are pre-human primates, and each chapter finds them evolving gradually through history and even (by the end of book 3) into our future. The story takes up generally where it left off, although the protagonists are in different times and sometimes places with each new chapter.

The result is a sweeping epic that examines wh
Jan 30, 2012 ette rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction-other
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ann Gilbertson
May 10, 2015 Ann Gilbertson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I was really enjoying this book ... up until the end. I will try to avoid spoilers. The idea of following the same characters throughout human history was fascinating. The transitions from one era to the next worked well. It was a very interesting illustration of the concerns faced by the average person in each setting. Very nicely done.

Then ... the last chapter. Talk about overdone. I understand that, in the preface, the author mentioned that this is a book with a message, but, fe
Oct 24, 2011 Eileen rated it did not like it
The idea is clever and a better writer might have done something with it. The story line is one dimensional and filled with so much rape/sex/potty/poop that I have come to the conclusion that the author is really an 8th grade boy forced to come up with something for his english composition class. The writing style is elementary, with absolutely no cleverness of style or description. I wonder if the author had hoped to achieve the affect of writing as these humans would have written in their ...more
Oct 18, 2014 Anne rated it liked it
This book was interesting. The book was recommended to me a few days ago, however, I would not normally have picked this book up. There is a lot of history in the book, and it is easy to question what the point of the series of events that do occur. There is sex in the book, however, there's a point to it as well. This book was overall good, not one of those "THE NEXT BOOK IS OUT I HAVE TO READ IT." but one of those casual ones if there are no longer any books to read and you have nothing left. ...more
May 18, 2011 Natalie rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
I read this years ago and then recently found out a 5th came out. Before I buy #5 I figure I should reread 1-4 first :-) I don't even remember if I liked it but I own 1-4 so I suppose that's a good sign.

I finished this yesterday. It was a good book. Not great, although to be honest none of his stuff really is GREAT. I enjoyed it though, and even though it's a massive book it didn't feel massive like some books do. It flowed nicely from one section to another. I didn't get the preachy fe
Jane Owings Schaefermeyer
I really wanted to give this book a five since I adore Piers Anthony and think he's one of the great science fiction writers of our time, but the book was just not that great. It was fragmented stories in time, linked by evolution and had a moral that we are killing ourselves and our world with overpopulation, climate change, nuclear war, etc. I agree with most all of that, but I really think literature should stand on its own, without OBVIOUS moral shouting. And to me, this is what it felt like ...more
just me
Jan 27, 2014 just me rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in human cultural history
Interesting work. Each chapter begins with known information about a specific time period, moving forward from man's beginnings to pivotal eras that provided stimulus to the development of human society/culture. The second part of each chapter follows the same characters as they could have experienced that particular era. Even though long time spans separate each chapter, Anthony works his art to keep us from disbelief that we could be looking in on the same people. This is a great device, as it ...more
Gail Richmond
Feb 27, 2016 Gail Richmond rated it it was ok
Anthony's intent--to show the history of mankind over time--is admirable. Unfortunately, the story line is disjointed and the researched history, which is well worth reading, is separated and loses the impact that it could have had. Interesting characters that repeat throughout the millions of years that are the history and projected future of earth and humankind. This is a book that could have used better editing and more thought in the arrangements and type-face of text.
Dec 17, 2009 Brianne rated it really liked it
Shelves: previouslyread
This is a story of a family that is separated by time and circumstance. When I say time, I mean large historical periods. They are followed from the trees of preman to a post-apocalyptic world where the original players in the story are reunited at last. I'm a sap and I love stories that tie in prehistoric elements, so this one was a winner as far as I'm concerned. The first in Geodyssey series was the best, but the others were good reads as well.
Jeremiah Johnson
Nov 03, 2010 Jeremiah Johnson rated it it was ok
The author said this book was supposed to be about how thing man did to survive are killing the earth.
His point was totally overshadowed by all the rape and sex that happened in the first half of the book. I have no idea why these scenes were needed as they added absolutely nothing of value to the story.
I did like the overall layout of the book. Following a family through the eons and learning a bit of the history of the times was interesting.
Aug 28, 2012 Jami rated it it was ok
I believe I read this previously. It is a good story but I have one MAJOR gripe. The jacket says human history told through one families generations, however they forgot to mention they weren't changing any of the names or life experiences of any of the characters. VERY CONFUSING!! No family lives exctly the same life over and over. I had to take away one of the stars for that.
May 15, 2016 Laura rated it it was ok
I high 2, but not quite a 3. The premise was interesting, and the first 2/3 of the book was enjoyable - but by the last 3rd I was tired of the tedious sex scenes and started seriously skimming. I had invested too much time in the book just to quit, but I wish I had because the ending was unsatisfying.
Tom Watson
Jan 02, 2015 Tom Watson rated it it was amazing
This beautifully written book carries the reader through the growth and development of the human species, moving from later hominids to present humanity, through the eyes of an ever growing cast. Each chapter is a different time period with the same basic actors.

If I lived on an island for 10 years without human contact, this would be one of the books I would bring.
Sep 15, 2016 Ruth rated it it was amazing
I've never been a big fan of science fiction, but this is definitely an exception. Such an interesting concept. Spanning over millions of years, each book involves a theme and a single set of characters living life through several diffent time periods throughout world history. Although very entertaining and enjoyable, I found myself learning a bit too.
Melissa Cavanaugh
Mar 26, 2008 Melissa Cavanaugh rated it liked it
I reread this book from the Geodyssey series and was pleased to find that I still enjoyed it. It's an interesting premise - it places two families at various points in the history of the human race, from several thousand years BC up to a dystopian future following an environmental apocalypse. Sweeping and well-written.
Adam Lewis
Aug 10, 2011 Adam Lewis rated it it was amazing
Somebody gave me this book as a yard sale leftover. I didn't have anything else to read then so I started it. I ended up very pleased. It is an epic over the course of human biological and cultural history with two recurring / quasi-reincarnated characters.
Jan 02, 2014 Kim rated it it was amazing
A very interesting way of combining the authors love of history with his love of stringing a great yarn. Anthony takes the history of man and with familiar characters leads us through the eons. A very unique way of presenting history. One of the best books I've read in a long time.
Sean Tikkun
Dec 14, 2015 Sean Tikkun rated it it was amazing
This is a fine piece of historical fiction. The mechanic of moving through epochs and stages of life with familiar characters is truly unique in my experience. I read this years ago and always intended to complete the series. Perhaps its time....
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Though he spent the first four years of his life in England, Piers never returned to live in his country of birth after moving to Spain and immigrated to America at age six. After graduating with a B.A. from Goddard College, he married one of his fellow students and and spent fifteen years in an assortment of professions before he began writing fiction full-time.

Piers is a self-proclaimed environm
More about Piers Anthony...

Other Books in the Series

Geodyssey (5 books)
  • Shame of Man (Geodyssey, #2)
  • Hope of Earth (Geodyssey, #3)
  • Muse of Art (Geodyssey, #4)
  • Climate of Change (Geodyssey, #5)

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