I started writing Unburning Alexandria when I was finishing up The Plot to Save Socrates in late 2005 - indeed, the opening chapter of Unburning Alexandria was originally the next-to-last chapter in The Plot to Save Socrates. But on the urging of my editor at Tor, David Hartwell, I took that chapter out of The Plot to Save Socrates and saved it for Unburning Alexandria. The chapter, along with the next chapter in the novel, were published as a novelette called "Unburning Alexandria" in Analog Magazine in November 2008.
When JoSara published my author's cut of The Plot to Save Socrates last December, I re-inserted that chapter in The Plot to Save Socrates. For the reader's convenience - and for those who read the original printed versions of The Plot to Save Socrates rather than the ebooks - I included that chapter as Chapter 0 in Unburning Alexandria.
In either case, I hope you enjoy Unburning Alexandria, which tells the following story -
Mid-twenty-first century time traveler Sierra Waters, fresh from her mission to save Socrates from the hemlock, is determined to alter history yet again, by saving the ancient Library of Alexandria - where as many as 750,000 one-of-a-kind texts were lost, an event described by many as “one of the greatest intellectual catastrophes in history.”
Along the way she will encounter old friends such as William Henry Appleton the great 19th century American publisher and enemies like the enigmatic time travelling inventor Heron of Alexandria. And her quest will involve such other real historic personages as Hypatia, Cleopatra’s sister Arsinoe, Ptolemy the astronomer, and St. Augustine - again placing her friends, her loved-ones, and herself in deadly jeopardy.
In this sequel to THE PLOT TO SAVE SOCRATES, award winning author Paul Levinson offers another time-traveling adventure spanning millennia, full of surprising twists and turns, all the while attempting the seemingly impossible: UNBURNING ALEXANDRIA.
Thanks to Joel Iskowitz, the world-renown illustrator whose works appear on US coins and stamps around the world, for the cover.
Here's a video of a reading I did from the beginning of Unburning Alexandria, at the late great Robin's Bookstore in Philadelphia in 2008.
- Read a sample from Unburning Alexandria - a whole chapter, FREE - at SF Signal.
- Read why JoSara MeDia published Unburning Alexandria
Paul Levinson's "Unburning Alexandria" was a nicely told story of time travel set in 413 AD Alexandria and other cities. Sierra is trying to rescue works from the famous library but she has another goal, too. A number of characters, historical and not, pop in to the story filled with intrigue and mystery. I liked this but I was left waiting for more. I hope Mr. Levinson has more to tell.
I did indeed have more - and it's now out in the novel, Unburning Alexandria ...
reviews of the novel
"Levinson's stories are intricately plotted and avoid the tricky Gordian knots of paradoxes with skill and fun." - John DeNardo, Kirkus
"You get used to reading verbal bombshells when you read Paul Levinson’s science fiction works.... characters say things like, 'I was here, in Carthage, three months from now'.” - Jim Curtis, The Morton Report
"little quirkinesses ... and a lot of clever ideas" - GF Willmetts, SFCrowsnest
"Not since Ilium had a novel kept me reading into the wee hours of dusk (I finished this sucker at 3:30 am, unable to resist immediately tweeting my triumph from the mountain tops). Just before tossing all aces like a godforsaken magician, Levinson shuffled his paradoxes like a deck of cards, and I have to admit, stoked the flames of my imagination. It was a great ride." - Shane Lindemoen
words by Paul Levinson, music by John Anealio, demo by John Anealio