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  • Published: 15 June 2021
  • ISBN: 9781787302297
  • Imprint: Harvill Secker
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $38.99

Civilisations




A stunningly ambitious and entertaining novel that gives us a counter-factual history of the modern world, from the author of the international bestseller HHhH.

A stunningly ambitious and entertaining novel that gives us a counter-factual history of the modern world, from the author of the international bestseller HHhH.

Binet's best book yet: the work of a major writer just hitting his stride. A delightful counterfactual novel. ***** - Daily Telegraph

c.1000AD: Erik the Red's daughter heads south from Greenland
1492: Columbus does not discover America
1531: the Incas invade Europe

Freydis is the leader of a band of Viking warriors who get as far as Panama. Nobody knows what became of them...
Five hundred years later, Christopher Columbus is sailing for the Americas, dreaming of gold and conquest. Even when captured by Incas, his faith in his superiority and his mission is unshaken.

Thirty years after that, Atahualpa, the last Inca emperor, arrives in Europe. What does he find? The Spanish Inquisition, the Reformation, capitalism, the miracle of the printing press, endless warmongering between the ruling monarchies, and constant threat from the Turks.

But most of all, downtrodden populations ready for revolution. Fortunately, he has a recent guidebook to acquiring power - Machiavelli's The Prince. It turns out he is very good at it. So, the stage is set for a Europe ruled by Incas and, when the Aztecs arrive on the scene, for a great war that will change history forever.

Civilisations is a wildly entertaining counterfactual story about the modern world, colonisation, empire-building and the eternal human quest for domination. It is an electrifying novel by one of Europe's most exciting writers.


'What if the 1492 'discovery' of America...alerted the Incas to the existence of a land to the east that might be ripe for conquest?' Literary Review

  • Published: 15 June 2021
  • ISBN: 9781787302297
  • Imprint: Harvill Secker
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $38.99

About the author

Laurent Binet

Laurent Binet lives and works in France. His first novel, HHhH, was an international bestseller which won the prestigious Prix Goncourt du premier roman, among other prizes.

Also by Laurent Binet

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Praise for Civilisations

Civilisations provides a whole series of what-ifs, concertinaing known facts in new and surprising ways

Literary Review

Binet's best book yet: the work of a major writer just hitting his stride. A delightful counterfactual novel. *****

Tim Smith-Laing, Daily Telegraph

Imagine that Christopher Columbus never made it back to Spain - and that the Incas weren't conquered by Spain but instead invaded Europe, replacing Christianity with sun worship....the distant tone enables some enjoyably tart humour about European mores as seen through Incan eyes

The Times

One of the most successful French writers of his generation... a wild romp of a book that turns history on its head

Guardian

Characteristically ambitious, brilliant...Combining all the pleasure of a period romp with vital questions about our shared origin stories...a triumph

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Tremendous fun.

Guardian

[A] hugely entertaining counterfactual history of the making of the modern world... Binet has riotous, brainy fun in a rollicking story of the urge to power, which delights in turning received ideas upside down

Guardian, *Summer Reads of 2021*

A bold and thrilling experiment in counter-factual history from a masterful storyteller

Àngel Gurría-Quintana, Financial Times, *Summer Reads of 2021*

Wonderfully inventive

Muriel Zagha, Times Literary Supplement, *Summer Reads of 2021*

A propulsive 'counter-factual' romp...both dizzying and fun

Claire Allfree, Metro, *Summer Reads of 2021*

[A] glorious counterfactual novel... Funny and profound, this is Binet's best novel yet

Daily Telegraph, *Summer Reads of 2021*

Vividly recreates the assassination of Heydrich and its consequences (Praise for HHhH)

John Le Carré, Telegraph

Laurent Binet's HHhH is hard to categorise. All is can say is that it has the same gravity-defying balance of weight and light as early Milan Kundera (Praise for HHhH)

Janice Turner, The Times

HHhH is a highly original piece of work, at once charming, moving, and gripping (Praise for HHhH)

Martin Amis

Establishes Laurent Binet as the clear heir to the late Umberto Eco, writing novels that are both brilliant and playful, dense with ideas while never losing sight of their need to entertain... One of the funniest, most riotously inventive and enjoyable novels you'll read this year (Praise for The 7th Function of Language)

Alex Preston, Observer

A hugely entertaining novel, taking delight in its own twists and turns (Praise for The 7th Function of Language)

Nicholas Lezard, Spectator

Lively, earthy, experimental, ambitious, clever and endlessly entertaining... Smart, witty, direct, cool (Praise for The 7th Function of Language)

Hal Jensen, The Times Literary Supplement

The premise is a stroke of genius. Roland Barthes did not die following an accident in 1980; he was murdered... The strands of the plot are skilfully interwoven through a dual process of fictionalisation of the real and realisation of the fictional (Praise for The 7th Function of Language)

Andrew Gallix, Financial Times

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