Read Isle of Woman by Piers Anthony Online


From a woman's dawning awareness of time and place to a future era when humanity is no longer bound to a single world, internationally bestselling author Piers Anthony draws his readers through the evolution of the human species as a single family is reincarnated through history....

Title : Isle of Woman
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780312855642
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 448 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Isle of Woman Reviews

  • Eliza
    2019-02-20 01:28

    This book has left me somewhat torn. On one hand, as an environmental scientist I feel that the message of the book is sound: humans are clearly causing their destruction through their inability to maintain their population. It continues to logistically grow and yet we do seemingly nothing to contain it.But the book itself falls short. The writing is very interesting how he follows man through time since the beginning and tracks its progress towards the present. Many of the mini-stories are cute and catchy, but it's difficult to grasp the theme of the book until the very end when it's suddenly dropped. There is no clear progression along the way towards overpopulation. At first I thought the theme was unsustainability through our degrading resource base. The theme could have been brought in more from the beginning.The stories themselves are rather kitschy. The links between each succeeding generation to those before it are stressed too far with silly visions and not-quite-memories. As for the real history and science that he brings in, since the author is neither a historian nor a scientist (especially not a scientist) his words scratch at the surface of the real issues, but don't delve deeply enough to give the reader a meaningful impression of them. I realize that this book is meant as a broad generalization, but it's too broad and Malthus and his theories are not hinted at until the very end.The book was an entertaining read for the most part, but I fear that with the extreme gloom and doom that he paints in the end, it has more like a "Day after Tomorrow" movie feel which puts the issue into such an extreme that it isn't believable. Yes, overpopulation is the biggest environmental issue facing the world currently, but by scaring readers by envisioning a scenario where humans are surviving by cockroaches and cannibalism in 2021, only 28 years after the book was written is an extraordinary stretch of the imagination. This I fear will push readers into taking the message as just the words of another crazy environmentalist.

  • M.M. Strawberry Reviews
    2019-03-20 02:38

    Next to Incarnations of Immortality, this is Piers Anthony's best work. The research seems accurate, and it is clear that Mr. Anthony took this research in mind as he wrote the stories in this book. I found myself interested in the first two stories, that happened millions of years ago.My beef is Blaze and Ember's long separation, and their instant knowledge of their past lives when they finally come face to face in the future (last story) That was such a cheesy and contrived ending. I would have liked better if the entire plot had Blaze and Ember together through the ages, meeting in different ways and unconsciously remembering one another, instead of them finding others and the story shifting to their children and then their grandchildren. Still, a decent read, with interesting stories.

  • Benjamin Thomas
    2019-02-21 03:24

    Piers Anthony is known for his long-standing interest in unique puzzles and has often incorporated interesting puzzles and riddles into his books. He uses the technique very well in other novels but in this book, he has gone one step further. The premise of using one set of characters to live their lives through all of human history is an incredible idea in the first place but his masterful execution of it is simply wonderful. Despite the complexity of the task, Piers doesn't let that get in the way of the story itself, and the development of the plot and characters. The historical background itself is quite interesting but, true to form, the story itself is the key, and it works. I am intensely curious how the other two novels in the trilogy will be handled since they are reputed to be parallel to this one. If you aren't into trilogies, don't worry. This one stands alone in its entirety.

  • David Nichols
    2019-03-13 04:19

    This 1993 novel answers the burning question "What would CLOUD ATLAS look like if it had been written by Piers Anthony?" The author uses multiple incarnations of a single extended family to examine what he considers important episodes in the evolutionary and cultural history of mankind: the development of language, the colonization of Australia, the development of art, the establishment of the first cities, and so forth. A few of the chapters tell genuinely interesting stories (e.g. the sections on Catal Huyuk and on the T'ang Dynasty, the latter of which could have been the foundation for a good novel), but on the whole the narratives are rather dull and the characters poorly developed. Also, Anthony is keen to remind his readers that he really, really likes breasts, a point which he makes to excess. We get it, Piers, You Heart Boobs. Now move on with the rest of the book.

  • Jim
    2019-02-26 00:22

    I think this book tried to be too many things and ended up failing at all of them by not really spending enough time on any one aspect to make it successful. Covering several million years, even at 400-plus pages, and trying to build a narrative with "recurring" characters, historical overviews, evolutionary points, and spending too little time on each ultimately leaves each suffering from lack of proper attention. Anthony's keen interest in the sexuality of young girls is about the only thing that receives a large amount of scrutiny, to the distraction of much of anything else for the first half of the book. The recurring characters throughout history was an interesting notion, but again, lacked enough exposition and exploration to make it anything more than a nearly-fascinating notion.

  • Diana Koenig
    2019-02-25 00:44

    The book started out well and caught my attention. I liked that people were starting to learn and develop language. The settings and stories around famous places were fun. Then it sort of devolved into sex and almost rape stories. The women aren't portrayed all that well, and men seem to maintain the same view of rape throughout the book.

  • T.W. Fendley
    2019-02-27 04:31

    I picked this up at a used bookstore ... I enjoyed the historical basis and the way the stories were linked, but didn't like the way women were portrayed (although I can understand why it was written that way).

  • Ruthsidra
    2019-03-14 00:28

    Loved everything except the cheesy ending.. hand me the popcorn!

  • Brian R. Mcdonald
    2019-03-15 04:19

    Isle of Woman is the first volume in Anthony's Geodyssey tetralogy. Shame of Man, Hope of Earth, and Muse of Art complete the series. Each of the chapters [20 per book] is essentially a self-contained short story. Each story is set in a different era and a different part of the world, but all of the stories in any one volume feature the same group of characters under different names. For example, Isle of Woman tells the story of two families as they might have existed in the Rift Valley of east central Africa millions of years ago, in Neander and Lascaux during more recent prehistory, and in "modern" societies ranging from the Hittites to the Silk Road and from medieval Lithuania to the British Raj, ending in Houston in 2021.Chapter 16, set in T'ang dynasty China, concerns lovers of go-related fiction. The main character is here named Lotus [again, she appears under different names in most of the other stories]. She is a servant to the emperor's principal concubine. She is heavily involved in her lady's complicated court intrigues, but has long tedious hours of waiting during formal functions, when she often plays Go with another servant. Oddly, the book refers to the game as Go, the standard term in the western world but derived from the Japanese name, rather than by the Chinese terms wei-chi or weiqi. The climax of the story turns on Lotus's attempt to influence the outcome of a Go game being played by the emperor.The chapter is an interesting and well-told story in its own right, and would merit a positive place in the library of go literature as a separate work. Most of the other chapters warrant similar praise. However, the book as a whole transcends the sum of the individual stories. Mr. Anthony sets ambitious goals for himself with this series. First, he wants his batch of vignettes to add up to a work of paleontology, archeology and history, telling the story of our species through the stories of a few of its members. Secondly, he has a clear ideological agenda, seeking to warn us about trends in human history which he thinks are leading us to ecological and social crises. In my opinion, he accomplishes the first goal and makes a strong case for the second.

  • Laura
    2019-03-02 23:20

    Description:Piers Anthony’s Isle of Woman is a monumental epic of unprecedented drama and scope, retelling the saga of humankind in a unique and dramatic way. The culmination of more than a quarter century of research, it is a stunningly ambitious achievement from a master of imaginative fiction. At once grand in scope and intimate in human detail, Isle of Woman tells the story of a man and a woman born at the dawn of human history, separated by fate, yet united by an unquenchable passion that even time could not conquer: Blaze, the fire worker who raised his kind of savagery, and Ember, the beautiful green-eyed woman who forever haunted his dreams.Through their eyes and those of their descendants, we witness humanity’s odyssey from savagery to civilization as they are reborn again and again throughout history. We share with these two eternal lovers an unforgettable odyssey of triumph, tragedy, and discovery that takes them from the African Savannah to the ancient Middle East, from the South Pacific to the caves of northern Europe, from the court of imperial China to India during the British Raj, ending in a stunning reunion in an America in ruins only a few short years from now. My review:I liked how the author followed a person through all of history. Unique perceptive.

  • Cyberpope
    2019-02-21 23:41

    My review of the full Gheodyssey series.Most excellent!Anthony has done his own original reseatch into the origins of mankind, & developed this series to condense millionsd of years into 5 books.He uses a unique approach of creating one set of characters who carry through from stomne age man to sometime in our near future.He does this by assigning, at first two-letter names(eg "Ug") &, in each succeeding era, he expands the name one letter longer, but keeps many of the same personality & physical traits -- you get the idea that they are descendents of the original characters, but they are not aware of the past.Each section explores a key(to Anthony) developmental era/geography in human history(eg Stone Age, Great Basin in Africa, Greek Empire, Asia/China, Ice Age, etc.)Each chapter begins & ends with research/author notes that give you the context from the real world.I especially found the exposition of life in the Americas to be enlightening.If you hate history, but wouldn't mind learning more about it, but in a way that's not dry memorization of names, dates, etc, then this series is also for you!

  • Mark
    2019-03-12 20:19

    Well, one star is for books I couldn't finish, so you know how this is going to go. The book is a walk through ancient history, beginning with knuckle dragging apes, evolving past Neanderthals and on towards modern man. (I didn't get far past Neanderthal). It has a neat plot device of introducing the same characters throughout, telling short (5-10 page) vignettes about different periods in human history, always with a scientifically reasonable plot and setting, but always treating, and this is the tiresome part, with the same protagoinists, identifiable by their deep green eyes and identifying scars and undying love for each other, going through their tragic, star crossed, just missed the chance for eternal undying happiness, lives. Naturally, since they're SUCH wonderful people, they put up with the misfortunes, and we await breathlessly their certain joy at the end. Oh, and there's lots of casual, somehow not quite tittilating sex sprinkled throughout, too.Overall, a good backup option for a "beach read," if you can't find anything with Fabio on the cover

  • Thomas Quatrale
    2019-03-01 02:20

    Enjoyable read, belief in evolution and reincarnation not required, but might help. I believe in the former, not the latter.Interesting idea, following the lives of the same individuals, reincarnated time and time again throughout human prehistory and history. I found myself researching the historical settings of these stories, which added to the experience. The author clearly believes the human race is on a collision course to its own demise, and he may be right, or not, I have not decided. I could have done with a little less graphic descriptions of human sexuality. I'm not a prude, mind you. I just thought it was a distraction from the story. I was several chapters into this book before I realized I had read this book a long time ago. Chapter after chapter felt familiar to me, and I finally realized why. (Light Dawns on Marble Head). Note that this is the first book in a multi-book series.

  • Sarah
    2019-02-23 00:32

    Re-read this book just now, and it holds up as well as I remember. This whole series is interesting, following the same characters through the book but with each chapter advancing in time through human history. In the beginning of the book, it is the dawn of mankind and language is just being invented. By the end of each book in the series, we are looking at a different possible future. Interspersed throughout are historical fact and a really compelling story. The style for this first novel follows two diverging storylines for the characters Blaze and Ember after they separate early in the book. The bouncing back and forth is only slightly confusing, mainly because the settings keep changing as the era approaches and overtakes modern times. The names and experiences each character has faced stay relatively constant, though, so it's not too jarring. For those only familiar with Piers Anthony for his Xanth series, this will be a startling departure - and well worth a look!

  • Kristen Coffin
    2019-03-09 21:31

    "Words were symbols, and they had been used for a long time, but syntax enabled man to manipulate those symbols and to generate phenomenal structures of comprehension. With the advent of complex communication, humans could share knowledge with others, and pass it along from one generation to another."I love this book! It's one of my favorite books of all time!At it's most basic, it's a romance, a reincarnation tale of the same souls being reborn over and over again trying to find one another.At it's heart, it's a tale of human evolution. We are the humans we are today because of everything that has happened to us in our past. Every little thing makes us who we are as a species. From something as simple as walking upright to creating fire to new religions, everything makes us who we are.This is such an amazing tale where two families are interwoven throughout the course of history, past to present to future.

  • Joey
    2019-03-05 04:18

    These books are simply amazing. The concept sounds gimmicky, but it works quite well. The trilogy follows a family through the eons of human development. At the beginning, they are pre-human primates, and each chapter finds them evolving gradually through history and even (by the end of book 3) into our future. The story takes up generally where it left off, although the protagonists are in different times and sometimes places with each new chapter. The result is a sweeping epic that examines what it means to be human. It's the story of one family, with the story of the whole human race thrown in to boot. If the literary world didn't look down it's nose at anything that could be lumped into a genre like science fiction, fantasy, or horror, these books would be considered classics.

  • ette
    2019-02-23 02:35

    So far a fascinating read. It's the story of humanity, from early cave folks to the modern era. I'm not done yet, but it's kept my interest so far. The book follows a few characters through the story of humanity--so one has to suspend reality in that the main characters clearly have not lived for thousands of years, but it's still cool. So far my main criticism is that the author focuses a lot on sex and an affair. It got a bit redundant. But still a good read. The author says the book has a "message" and that the "message" is not pleasant, so Jeanne, it may still be a distopic book :) I'll let you know. So, I never finished the book. It became redundant, and I lost interest.

  • Ann Gilbertson
    2019-03-04 00:45

    DisappointingI was really enjoying this book ... up until the end. I will try to avoid spoilers. The idea of following the same characters throughout human history was fascinating. The transitions from one era to the next worked well. It was a very interesting illustration of the concerns faced by the average person in each setting. Very nicely done. Then ... the last chapter. Talk about overdone. I understand that, in the preface, the author mentioned that this is a book with a message, but, fer pete's sake, you can deliver a message without clobbering the reader over the head with it. All the subtle details that made the rest of the book so enjoyable were transformed into a ton of bricks. It left a bad taste in my mouth ... as if I'd eaten ... never mind.

  • Eileen
    2019-02-21 20:23

    The idea is clever and a better writer might have done something with it. The story line is one dimensional and filled with so much rape/sex/potty/poop that I have come to the conclusion that the author is really an 8th grade boy forced to come up with something for his english composition class. The writing style is elementary, with absolutely no cleverness of style or description. I wonder if the author had hoped to achieve the affect of writing as these humans would have written in their time. If so, it failed woefully. I eventually quit half way thru and just read the introductions and the conclusion of each chapter and skipped the 'story'.

  • Natalie
    2019-02-27 22:20

    I read this years ago and then recently found out a 5th came out. Before I buy #5 I figure I should reread 1-4 first :-) I don't even remember if I liked it but I own 1-4 so I suppose that's a good sign.*********I finished this yesterday. It was a good book. Not great, although to be honest none of his stuff really is GREAT. I enjoyed it though, and even though it's a massive book it didn't feel massive like some books do. It flowed nicely from one section to another. I didn't get the preachy feel from it that some readers did.

  • Jane Owings Schaefermeyer
    2019-03-15 21:45

    I really wanted to give this book a five since I adore Piers Anthony and think he's one of the great science fiction writers of our time, but the book was just not that great. It was fragmented stories in time, linked by evolution and had a moral that we are killing ourselves and our world with overpopulation, climate change, nuclear war, etc. I agree with most all of that, but I really think literature should stand on its own, without OBVIOUS moral shouting. And to me, this is what it felt like as I read it.

  • just me
    2019-03-12 04:44

    Interesting work. Each chapter begins with known information about a specific time period, moving forward from man's beginnings to pivotal eras that provided stimulus to the development of human society/culture. The second part of each chapter follows the same characters as they could have experienced that particular era. Even though long time spans separate each chapter, Anthony works his art to keep us from disbelief that we could be looking in on the same people. This is a great device, as it keeps us invested in the story of man's (and woman's) progression.

  • Gail Richmond
    2019-03-13 03:40

    Anthony's intent--to show the history of mankind over time--is admirable. Unfortunately, the story line is disjointed and the researched history, which is well worth reading, is separated and loses the impact that it could have had. Interesting characters that repeat throughout the millions of years that are the history and projected future of earth and humankind. This is a book that could have used better editing and more thought in the arrangements and type-face of text.

  • Brianne
    2019-03-20 01:22

    This is a story of a family that is separated by time and circumstance. When I say time, I mean large historical periods. They are followed from the trees of preman to a post-apocalyptic world where the original players in the story are reunited at last. I'm a sap and I love stories that tie in prehistoric elements, so this one was a winner as far as I'm concerned. The first in Geodyssey series was the best, but the others were good reads as well.

  • Jeremiah Johnson
    2019-03-10 21:21

    The author said this book was supposed to be about how thing man did to survive are killing the earth.His point was totally overshadowed by all the rape and sex that happened in the first half of the book. I have no idea why these scenes were needed as they added absolutely nothing of value to the story.I did like the overall layout of the book. Following a family through the eons and learning a bit of the history of the times was interesting.

  • Jami
    2019-03-03 01:33

    I believe I read this previously. It is a good story but I have one MAJOR gripe. The jacket says human history told through one families generations, however they forgot to mention they weren't changing any of the names or life experiences of any of the characters. VERY CONFUSING!! No family lives exctly the same life over and over. I had to take away one of the stars for that.

  • Laura
    2019-03-02 20:24

    I high 2, but not quite a 3. The premise was interesting, and the first 2/3 of the book was enjoyable - but by the last 3rd I was tired of the tedious sex scenes and started seriously skimming. I had invested too much time in the book just to quit, but I wish I had because the ending was unsatisfying.

  • Tom Watson
    2019-03-01 01:31

    This beautifully written book carries the reader through the growth and development of the human species, moving from later hominids to present humanity, through the eyes of an ever growing cast. Each chapter is a different time period with the same basic actors.If I lived on an island for 10 years without human contact, this would be one of the books I would bring.

  • Ruth Soz
    2019-03-23 02:26

    I've never been a big fan of science fiction, but this is definitely an exception. Such an interesting concept. Spanning over millions of years, each book involves a theme and a single set of characters living life through several diffent time periods throughout world history. Although very entertaining and enjoyable, I found myself learning a bit too.

  • Melissa Cavanaugh
    2019-02-19 23:34

    I reread this book from the Geodyssey series and was pleased to find that I still enjoyed it. It's an interesting premise - it places two families at various points in the history of the human race, from several thousand years BC up to a dystopian future following an environmental apocalypse. Sweeping and well-written.