Six-year-old Cale's first experiences of primitive Conrad's World were violent and tragic. Cale's wealthy father was killed in space on a business venture, leaving a lone shuttle to make landfall in the desert. Cale's guardian Sidonie was attacked as she lay dying after the crash, leaving Cale to be brought up alone among exiles and criminals. Ten ...
Six-year-old Cale's first experiences of primitive Conrad's World were violent and tragic. Cale's wealthy father was killed in space on a business venture, leaving a lone shuttle to make landfall in the desert. Cale's guardian Sidonie was attacked as she lay dying after the crash, leaving Cale to be brought up alone among exiles and criminals. Ten years later, Cale flees to the capital Morningstar and there joins the radical Resurrectionists - like him they believe the city was built on an ancient alien civilisation. His fortunes change rapidly when he meets the scarred Sidonie, his protector from birth, who reunites him with his family and fortune. But Cale is driven to find an alien 'gateway' discussed in an old text, and is prepared to use all his new-found fortune to do so ...even at the cost of enraging his new family, and tracked every step of the way by the sinister Blackburn and his Sarakeen.
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I enjoyed the book. It was a decent plot, and the characters were relatively engaging. There was an overall slight claustrophobia about the settings, and I wish it had a larger canvas. This may, however, be a personal issue. Also, this is, I believe, an early novel. I like this author. I think his novel "Ship of Fools" was quite good. It is my favorite, although the Carlucci stories are also interesting. I would recommend either to people who enjoy character-driven work. This author's great strength is character development. One cares about and engages with his characters. (Or at least I do!)
Aug 18, 2007
Neat title, disappointing content.
Somehow, in writing the Rosetta Codex, Richard Russo has contrived to make the universe appear like a small state. Only two or three worlds are mentioned and they have no grand pictures such as one would expect if we had really colonized the stars.
The title is clever and the plot is built around it, however, the plot is thin and the writer lazy. He skips years, events, character growth, and uses the deus ex machina at every turn.
The main protagonist, Cale, is a cardboard cutout who is still going around with his nanny well into manhood. There is no complimentary female character. There is, however, a pseudo-father figure who is the "big bad wolf."
The only interesting story line in the book, the alien culture and the aliens, themselves, was left nearly totally undeveloped. Only in the last few pages did we meet them and then it was over! Most unsatifactory.
I may read more from this author, but only because I would hope for better.
Publishers Weekly, 2005-10-24 In this oddly old-fashioned and low-key space opera from Philip K. Dick Award-winner Russo (Ship of Fools), Cale Alexandros, the heir to a great mercantile family who's abandoned at age five on a backwater planet, grows up among savages. Barely surviving into adulthood, Cale makes his way out of the wasteland to the planet's one civilized city, where he discovers the Resurrectionists, a cult dedicated to unearthing the ancient technologies of an extinct alien race, and begins to understand the meaning of the Rosetta Codex, a strange artifact he himself discovered in the wasteland. Cale must also deal with the mysterious Blackburn and his employers, the Borg-like Sarakheen, who want the artifact for themselves. After regaining control of the Alexandros family holdings on another planet, Cale sets off on a journey that will transform the galaxy, his goal nothing less than the resurrection of the ancient aliens who created the codex. Russo's landscapes and technologies are nicely alien, but readers will have trouble attaching to his somewhat flat protagonist, whose motives for bringing the aliens back to life remain unclear. (Dec.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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