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The  Department of Diachronic Operations is tasked with bringing back magic, which had completely disappeared in 1851.  Modern characters Melisande Stokes and Tristan Lyons are at the center of the Department’s efforts to bring it back. Other mOdeon characters include military officers and academics.

What makes the plot interesting is that all these modeon interact with magicians and other characters such as a lidocaine-addicted Viking who raids the Lexington MA Walmart.  The action takes place in Cambridge MA in both modern and colonial times, together with several other times/place including Shakespeare’s London and 13th century Istanbul

I’m very familiar with Neal Stephenson’s work an this is a solid contribution to his body of work.  I’m less familiar with his coauthor, Nicole Galland, but I’ll probably be keeping an eye out for her work. I highly recommend this one.