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END OF THE CENTURY
Publisher: Pyr
Release Date: 2009
Cover by Dan Dos Santos

Three people. Three eras. One city. Endless possibilities. End of the Century is a novel of the distant past, the unimaginable future, and the search for the Holy Grail. Set in the city of London, the narrative is interlaced between three ages, in which a disparate group of heroes, criminals, runaways, and lunatics are drawn into the greatest quest of all time.

Twilight—Londinium, Sixth Century, CE
Galaad, a young man driven by strange dreams of a lady in white and a tower of glass, travels to the court of the high king Artor in Londinium, abandoned stronghold of the Roman Empire in Britain. With the dreams of Galaad as their only guide, Artor and his loyal captains journey west to the Summerlands, there to face a threat that could spell the end of the new-forged kingdom of Britain.

Jubilee—London, 1897
Consulting detective Sandford Blank, accompanied by his companion Roxanne Bonaventure, is called upon to solve a string of brutal murders on the eve of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. The police believe that Jack the Ripper is back on the streets, but Blank believes that this is a new killer, one whose motive is not violence or mayhem, but the discovery of the Holy Grail itself. And what of the corpse-white Huntsman and his unearthly hounds, who stalks the gaslit streets of London?

Millennium—London, 1999
At the eve of the new millennium, American teenager Alice Fell is on the run, and all alone. On the streets of a strange city, friendless and without a pound to her name, Alice is not sure whether she's losing her mind, or whether she is called by inescapable visions to some special destiny. Along with a strange man named Stillman Waters, who claims to be a retired occultist and spy, she finds herself pursued by strange creatures, and driven to steal the priceless “vanishing gem” that may contain the answers to the mysteries that plague her.

The three narratives—Dark Ages fantasy, gaslit mystery, and modern-day jewel heist— alternate until the barriers between the different times begin to break down, and the characters confront the secrets that connect the Grail, the Glass Tower, and the vanishing gem. And lurking behind it all is the entity known only as Omega.


Sample Chapters available online.


Praise

The author of Here, There & Everywhere and The Voyage of Night Shining White blends high fantasy, Victorian mystery, and urban fantasy into one mesmerizing story that refreshes the Arthurian legend.
Library Journal

What do a soldier from the 6th century, a sleuth from the 19th century and an American teenager in 1999 all have in common? They are all characters in Chris Roberson’s ambitious quest for the Holy Grail that intermingles all three ages to truly entertaining effect.
Geek Monthly

Roberson conjures up a triple-threaded tale… Roberson bedecks all three strands with a spectacular collection of secrets, murky underworld organizations, and everything from time travel to magical swords. In the dizzying conclusion, time lines converge in a satisfying reimagining of a very old story.
Regina Schroeder, Booklist

End of the Century is EXCELLENT reading.
Fábio Fernandes, Fantasy Book Scritic

Nor was I surprised to find among Roberson's inspirations various multiversal adventures of Michael Moorcock and the Yggsdrasillian family tree of Philip José Farmer's Wold Newton cycle. Those inspirations--dark Moorcock and manic-inventive Famer--locate the pleasures of this busy, complicated, symbolically and thematically fully packed book pretty accurately.
Russell Letson, Locus Magazine

Roberson, author of "Here, There & Everywhere" and "Paragaea: A Planetary Romance," coordinates the multiple plots with panache, keeping each interesting in itself while seeding them with clues that pay off up and down the timelines. The book is dedicated to Michael Moorcock, Alan Moore and Kim Newman, and it's not hard to discern their influences on the secret societies, mystical lore and pulpy derring-do featured in "End of the Century."
Roberson has his own unique strengths as a writer, however, and he is developing a literary cosmology well worth further exploration. If he sometimes resorts to bald explication of the scientific/philosophical underpinnings that govern his multiverse, its a forgivable lapse in the face of so much invention and clever storytelling.
Michael Berry, San Francisco Chronicle

 

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