Saturday, January 23, 2016

Book Review- Lord of All Things by Andreas Eschbach

Ten-year-old Hiroshi Kato has had the idea of a lifetime. He's figured out that the secret to making everyone rich. But he can't even tell his only friend, Charlotte, the French Ambassador's daughter, or else his vision will be warped or misused. He has to wait until he can make it happen.
Through an education at MIT and into his adult years, Hiroshi works tirelessly towards his vision, coming in and out of contact with Charlotte and powerful people who don't understand his goal. The concept of rich and poor is too ingrained for many to get what he's working towards. Even Charlotte has her doubts, and she follows her own interests, namely a project to locate the very first human race.
Their dreams and lives intertwine as Hiroshi creeps closer and closer to creating a new world where everyone is rich. But is that dream really reachable, or will human nature always be in the way?

That's my summary. Here's the one I pulled from
They are just children when they first meet: Charlotte, daughter of the French ambassador in Japan, and Hiroshi, a laundress's son. One day in the playground, Hiroshi declares that he has an idea that will change the world. An idea that will sweep away all differences between rich and poor.

When Hiroshi runs into Charlotte several years later, he is trying to build a brighter future through robotics. Determined to win Charlotte's love, he ressurects his childhood dream, convinced that he can eradicate world poverty by pushing the limits of technology beyound imagination. But as Hiroshi circles ever closer to realizing his vision, he discovers that his utopian dream may contain the seeds of a nightmare–one that could obliterate life as we know it.

Crisscrossing the globe, from Tokyo to the hallowed halls of MIT to desolate Arctic islands and Buenos Aires and beyond–far beyond–
Lord of All Things explores not only technology's dizzying potential, but also it's formidable dangers.

Technology is simply terrifying, when you think about it. Hiroshi has nothing but faith in it, and that faith permeates his journey in this book. A deep interest in robotics will serve as his foundation for the vision of a perfect world where everyone is rich. Robots will one day be able to provide people with all they need, so everyone can do whatever he wishes. His vendetta against the gap between rich and poor serves as his drive, but it's never a violent dream. Hiroshi is driven, level-headed, and focused-- all traits that set him apart from many of the people around him. His selflessness contrasts wonderfully with many of the people he finds himself near.

This may be the trickiest part of this review. Eschbach originally wrote this novel in German, so the version I had through Audible is translated. That said, this book was beautifully crafted, rich and interesting from the very beginning. With all that Hiroshi studies, it would be easy to get bogged down in the technical advances and thought processes that hold up his vision, but that never happened. I was never lost, even as the subject matter grew further and further from my own comfort zone. There was even a moment that was so beautifully written and heartfelt that I was nearly in tears.

My Thoughts
From the beginning, I was deeply interested in this book. Eschbach did a wonderful job teasing Hiroshi's plan to the reader and then withholding the logistics until the right moment. In fact, that sort of tantalization was well exercised across the whole book. But I loved the time I had to go through Hiroshi's youth before ever learning what his plan was. It actually gave me time to go along with him and eventually come up with a guess as to what his plan really was.
I wasn't far off, and I think many readers would come to similar or close guesses themselves. It was an exciting reveal for me, and even better, I got to continue the book and see how Hiroshi worked to make things happen.
Eschbach appeared to have really though of everything with his novel. Different ramifications of the technological advances Hiroshi makes are explored. People wants to use things their own way. He even explores alien involvement and prehisotric history. There's so much in this book that I almost can't fathom it all. It was, in short, a work of art, and one I plan to reread for the rest of my life.

Would I Recommend This Book? Highly. This book was intelligent without being arrogant, intriguing without being snide or gloating about withheld secrets, and just plain beautiful to read (or have read to me in audio). I give Lord of All Things (Herr Aller Dinge) a sticky-fingered 5 of 5 stars.

For more on the author, visit (You may have to translate the webpage).

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