The Long Utopia
After the cataclysmic upheavals of Step Day and the Yellowstone eruption humanity is spreading further into the Long Earth, and society, on a battered Datum Earth and beyond, continues to evolve.
Now an elderly and cantankerous AI, Lobsang lives in disguise with Agnes in an exotic, far-distant world. He's convinced they're leading a normal life in New Springfield but it seems they have been guided there for a reason. As rumours of strange sightings and hauntings proliferate, it becomes clear that something is very awry with this particular world.
Millions of steps away, Joshua is on a personal journey of discovery: learning about the father he never knew and a secret family history. But then he receives a summons from New Springfield. Lobsang now understands the enormity of what's taking place beneath the surface of his earth - a threat to all the worlds of the Long Earth.
Reviewed on 27th June 2015
The fourth (and possibly final) book in Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter's Long Earth series gripped me in a way that the first four failed to. In fact, I'd almost given up on reading the series after the third book, but given recent events wanted to grab the final pages of Pratchett, and was pleasantly surprised.
The story follows the main characters from previous books as they are aging and (in some cases) settling down after a life of adventure, until they discover something uncomfortably wrong with one of the worlds.
There's plenty to follow up from events of previous books, and I particularly enjoyed the different take on one aspect. The plot actually felt linear and fairly self contained, which I appreciated, although I thought that there was a lot of set up first before getting to the most engaging chapters.
There are touches of humour that I hadn't noticed as much in previous novels - places where (what I assume is) Pratchett's wit shines through the cracks - especially in the dialogue between characters, and this I particularly enjoyed.
I felt that this book rounded things off well (though I have read on one website that there is a fifth book coming - but this may have been an error), and left things in a fit state to leave the series. It's been a mixed bag throughout, but I definitely enjoyed this epic conclusion.