NESFA Members' Reviews

Atlantis Endgame

by Andre Norton and Sherwood Smith

Tor, 2002, ISBN 0-312-85922-8

A book review by Elisabeth Carey

This is a new Time Traders adventure, this one touched off when an archaeologist, an old friend of Gordon Ashe's, brings him a little something she found recently on a dig--a gold hoop earring. It's an old enough style, but this one bears a modern maker's mark, and so was probably not made in ancient Thera. In fact, it appears to be identical to a pair that Eveleen Riordan wears.

This naturally leads to an expedition to Thera shortly before the eruption that destroyed the island and created the legend of lost Atlantis. Did the Baldies cause the eruption, destroying the relatively advanced Theran civilization? Or are the Baldies out to prevent the eruption? (The Therans had a peaceful, trade-oriented culture, that, had it survived, might have greatly delayed all the technological progress humans have made as a result of conflict, leaving Earth vulnerable to a Baldy invasion.)

Once they arrive in Thera, one of the mysteries distracting the Time Agents (Gordon Ashe, Ross Murdock, Eveleen Riordan, and Gordon's newly recruited archaeologist friend Linnea Edel, among others) is why obviously intelligent people, including the priestesses themselves, believe in the prophetic powers of the priestesses of the Earth Goddess. Linnea gains the confidence of the priestesses, claiming to be a priestess from Kimt (Egypt), hoping to in fluence them to claim the goddess has ordered an evacuation of the island, and discovers they're perfectly sincere and not likely to be fooled by any faked prophecies from her.

In the course of their adventures, culminating in a skin-of-their-teeth escape from the erupting volcano, they have several encounters with both the Baldies and the Fur Faces, and get unsettling revelations about the motivations of each. Especially unsettling is having each of these violently opposed groups explain the essentially pure and righteous nature of the other group's motivations. (The reader has the additional amusement of having the Fur Faces explain the prophecy business, and seeing Ross not notice because his belief that it's fake is so firmly grounded. I don't mean he doesn't believe the explanation; I mean he really doesn't notice.) Most unsettling of all are the hints and suspicions about who the Baldies might really be.

Great fun.

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