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A historical opera of sweeping proportions, The Cradle and the Sword hurtles the reader from the classical ages of Greece and Persia back into the mists of prehistory, chronicling the wars, intrigues, discoveries and triumphs of the world’s first great civilizations. A web of tales brings together an unforgettable cast of characters, united across thousands of years by common struggles, ambitions, and dreams. Thomas unveils an odyssey in reverse, tracing a myriad of intertwined paths, from the palace conspiracies of mighty Assyria to the lush gardens of Babylon, to the primeval city of Urrevealing an action-packed saga whose deepest roots reach back to legendary Eden itself.

Time’s Orphans Have Names

A whirlwind journey into the furthest depths of ancient history

The world is full of orphans.

Not just orphans in the literal sense — though there are millions of those — but people who are just lost. Disconnected from the rest of us, for all kinds of reasons.

But we can listen and try to understand them.

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There Is No Yesterday

An interactive experience in speaking with people from the past

Certain photos demand your attention: vintage mugshots of Australian criminals; portraits of soon-to-be victims of Stalin’s Great Purge, or of nomads in the desert or the steppe.

You stare into these peoples’ eyes and wonder what they were thinking about, what their days were like, how their voice sounded—maybe how they died.

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9 Books to Read by Age 30

…if you want to be a good writer. Or just an interesting person

Each of these books will teach you new ways of thinking about things you’ll face — or are now facing — in your twenties. If you’ve already read some of them back in high school, read them again now that you’re older and wiser. They will tell you new things. As you approach the end of your twenties in particular, these books are signposts that will point your way through the woods. Oh yeah, you know the woods I’m talking about. You’re right in the thick of it.

All right, enough intro. Let’s talk about great books. These are in no particular order, because ranking your favorite books is stupid.

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The Fascination of the Abomination

Why is the human mind so eager to explore the darkness? What do we hope to learn there?

I. Paradoxes of the heart

Have you ever watched a movie that was so scary you couldn’t look away?

For as long as I can remember — and probably longer — I’ve been intrigued by monsters. At preschool age, I had what my parents called an “overactive imagination,” and a long series of nightmares from which I woke screaming convinced them to ban me from watching TV shows — even cartoons — involving monsters or horror of any kind.

What was I looking for in all this?

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