'A masterclass... not only a marvelously compelling exploration of a fantastical world, but a meditation upon the nature of fiction itself ... one of the best things Brooke has ever written.'—Adam Roberts on The Unlikely World of Faraway Frankie
(Most recent edition: October 2011; infinite press. Hardback, Victor Gollancz, 1991; paperback, Corgi, 1992; first US edition March 2001 from the Wildside Press imprint, Cosmos.)
The descendants of Expatria's first colonists from Earth have rejected technology. When Mathias Hanrahan, heir to the primacy of Newest Delhi, wants to reintroduce the old ways he is framed for his father's murder and forced to flee.
Recruited by a research team which is trying to relearn the ancient technologies, he goes to work for them, and against a background of impending war, Mathias discovers that strange messages are coming from space.
"Its carefully measured, consciously understated prose eschews any of the customary cheap stunts used by genre authors in an attempt to keep the reader whizzing through the pages ... To describe it as gripping would be accurate but would at the same time mislead: it grips because of the reader's absorption in the characters and the significance of the events rather than through any nonstop pulse-racing action. It introduces you to a world which, without your perhaps consciously realizing it, comes to permeate your mind, so that you have to shake your head to return yourself to 21st-century Earth ... Brooke's tale-telling is superb ... a completely absorbing novel."
(John Grant, infinity plus)
"Book of the Month ... The mix of semi-pastoral life and scientific research is convincingly handled ... The underlying conflict between religion and science is finely wrought ... an absorbing piece of fiction. Highly recommended."
"Books like this are proving that the British can write SF as good as any American... This is a marvellous book that, despite the sequel ... is a complete novel in itself. Treat yourself: buy both, and read them over and over."
(Paul Brazier, Nexus)
"Brooke lies somewhere between Peter Dickinson and Barrington J Bayley in his novels: he tells one story, concentrating on one set of characters, while great events go on around them that are almost peripheral to their lives, but he does it with intense concentration and understanding ... Brooke is an author well worth reading ... I hope some publisher over here makes him available to American audiences."
(Tom Whitmore, Locus)
"...brought beautifully to life ... I enjoyed this book a great deal and will definitely buy the sequel."
(David Durant, Critical Wave)