Publication Date: 15/04/2021 ISBN: 9781787302297 Category:


Laurent Binet, Sam Taylor

Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publication Date: 15/04/2021 ISBN: 9781787302297 Category:



Mr B's review

Laurent Binet has had great fun imagining how world events may have played out if some Viking warriors had simply turned their boats southward in 1000 AD and preceded Columbus’ discovery of the Americas by 492 years. An entertaining counterfactual story about the modern world.


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.

‘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

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.

***** Daily Telegraph

Publisher Review

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 * HHhH is a highly original piece of work, at once charming, moving, and gripping (Praise for HHhH) — Martin Amis A hugely entertaining novel, taking delight in its own twists and turns (Praise for The 7th Function of Language) — Nicholas Lezard * Spectator * 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 * Vividly recreates the assassination of Heydrich and its consequences (Praise for HHhH) — John Le Carre * Telegraph *

Find this book on the following lists

Book experts at your service

What are you looking for?

A recommendation
Something specific
  • Mr B's Recommendation Station
  • Fill in the three questions below, along with your name and email address, and our book experts will be in touch soon with their personal recommendations
  • I'm after something specific
  • Tell us about the book, author or subject you're looking for, along with your name and email address and our book experts will be in touch as soon as possible