By Iain Pears
Henry Lytten - a undercover agent became educational and author - sits at his table in Oxford in 1962, dreaming of alternative worlds. He embarks at the tale of Jay, an eleven-year-old boy who has grown up in the include of his relations in a rural, peaceable international - one of those Arcadia. but if a supernatural imaginative and prescient factors Jay to query the foundations of his international, he's introduced on a life-changing journey.
Lytten additionally imagines a special society, hugely regulated and ruled by way of expertise, that is attempting to grasp the technology of time travel.
Meanwhile - within the actual international - certainly one of Lytten's former intelligence colleagues tracks him down for one final assignment...
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Not so fast," Stymy said. "I'm on probation; I have to follow every rule exactly or I'll get my flight feathers pulled. " The bird perused the paper. "You were delivered in the year 1093. " He did a double take. " "I was five years old when delivered," Surprise said. "That's why I was named as I was: Grundy and Rapunzel had almost given up waiting for me in five years, and then suddenly there I was, late but whole. " "I'm not sure of that," the stork said. "According to the rule, age is counted from the moment of delivery forward.
A fluorescent bulb flashed over the office stork's head, the kind that denoted a quirky but effective notion. "I will do better than that. " "All we need is the information," Che said. "I can't tell you," Stymy said. " "Because the fissure closed up and there is no longer a direct route there. " "Good enough," Stifle Stork said. "Go away with them. " "They will doubtless get there," Stifle said. " "I'm not sure about this," Surprise said.
The next tree bore full-grown men and women in scanty costumes that showed too much of their bodies. They hung in pairs of male and female, but were not paying attention to their immediate companions. They were constantly turning in place and eying others of the opposite gender. In fact they were flirting, exchanging secretive smiles and glimpses of flesh. It seemed they preferred any partners but their own. Surprise was disgusted. Where did these folk think they were, Mundania? Xanth wasn't like this.