”There exists a tribe of ants called the ‘Slave-Maker’. These insects raid the colonies of common ants, steal eggs back to their own nests, & after they hatch, why, the stolen slaves become workers of the greater empire & don’t even dream they was ever stolen. Now if you ask me, Lord Jehovah created these ants as a model, Mr. Ewing, aye, as a map.” Mr. Wagstaff’s gaze was gravid with the ancient future. “For them with the eyes to see it.”
A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific Ocean in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in Belgium between the First and Second World Wars; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan’s California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; the testament of a genetically modified ‘dinery server’ on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation – the narrators of Cloud Atlas hear each other’s echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changed in ways great and small.
In a novel of mindbending imagination and scope, David Mitchell erases the boundaries of language, genre and time to offer a captivating meditation on humanity’s dangerous will to power, and where it might lead us.
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