(Baen Books, Oct ’19, ISBN 978-1481484312)


What if our legends are older than we think? All the Stone Age has left behind are rocks and bones; all other materials have rotted away, leaving no trace. But what if “cave men” never existed, and the Stone Age was a time of great sophistication still preserved in our oldest stories?

In a brilliant and dangerous brain hacking experiment, Harv Leonel and Tara Mukherjee are about to discover entire lifetimes of human memory coded in our genes, and reveal ancient legends – from knights and trolls, to flood myths, to the birth of humanity itself – that are as real as they are deadly.


McCarthy’s best work. McCarthy [has] the ability to blend solid scientific outrageousness with slambang action and likable Everyman characters. A wowser of a speculation; plenty of vivid personages; and some philosophical and metaphysical heft as well. Tightly constructed, with plenty of verisimilitude and a satisfying arc. Superbly intriguing and captivating… with a touch of Monty Python absurdity. McCarthy makes us viscerally feel the connections that bind us to the past. A colorful cast of characters from across the millennia who have thick and rich existences… thus making a stellar return to the field.“– Paul Di Filippo, Locus

Unusual. Gripping. The science fiction elements are solid [and] provide a frame story for the deep historical pieces. Readers will be drawn to McCarthy’s ‘remembrances.’“– Publisher’s Weekly

It’s good, with a lot of interesting ideas. Definitely thought-provoking. It’s intriguing enough and entertaining enough to want such things to be true. It gets my recommendation.“– Galen Strickland, The Templeton Gate

Interesting… dream-like… a grand adventure [and] a fun little story. Feels a lot like a L Sprague de Camp or Harry Turtledove historical fiction novel. There is plenty of wonder and wow, [and] some real interesting speculation and good worldbuilding.“– Paul Weimer, Nerds of a Feather

Vividness: 70th percentile. Adverbs: 98th percentile.“– (Apparently, this is what robots think of my writing)

Fascinating stories, and an enjoyable read… There are copious end notes as well to provide further reading and to explain the author’s choices and thinking.“– miketransreal,

Between wondering is his experiment will kill him before it’s over, and trying to fit the lives he experiences into mythology and lore, it’s a pretty interesting read.“– Ernest Lilley, Amazing Stories

Seeing how our primitive ancestors slowly made their way from banging rocks together to creating cities and sea-faring states that smelt iron is a wondrous thing. In the stlye of Utopian SF.“– Eneasz Brodsky,

Richly detailed, plausible, internally convincing. The book absolutely shines.“– Sci Fi and Fantasy Reviews