Arcane Games

Kurzweil might have spun a better yarn by holding back on the self-reference, instead resolving the mystery surrounding the theft of the Marie Antoinette (the intrigue has been completely neutralized by book's end). But though watches are circular, time—hélas—is not, and a stronger denouement for this long-aborning novel might have eluded the author for an unthinkable year or two or ten. (A recent article mentioned that an earlier version had burgeoned to 800 pages.) A curio saddled with a repeater mechanism, The Grand Complication ticks out what amounts to a waste of time.

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