Chronicles Twenty to Twenty-Three--What's In Them?
With the Crystal Age civilization destroyed, human society struggles to re-start but quickly finds it cannot continue the technology that is crumbling away, and reverts to older technologies that, strangely, still work. Museums are emptied of old machinery, and the world struggles to climb back out of world disaster. Certain nations gain over others, Britain because of all the gold Chillingsworth had stock-piled there, and Dutch America, where the plucky and stubborn-willed Dutch have carved out a revived Holland on American shores. An East Coast Indian on Long Island, Four Stars, finds Crazy John's kayak, and later the Dutch become the unwitting hosts to the Alien Entity. In New York City, now renamed New Amsterdam, a maverick scientist and scholar struggles to identify what has caused the world to regress so dramatically. He does not agree with the accepted explanation of the educated community that there has been no backward plunge from a higher civilization. Studying tree rings, glaciation, the ocean bottom, and the volcanism of tht mid-Atlantic, he puts together a theory as to the possible cause and even a war plan designed to combat it. The cause remains unknown to him, but he strives to master what no one else dares to contemplate--the dark ignorance of the fact that Earth has been attacked and shattered by an unknown assailant. It is an Enemy that has used glaciation along wth the "English plague" that reduces advanced technology to junk in order to destroy Earth.
Unknown to the professor, his destiny will be linked with a most unlikely youth, Pieter van der Wordt, who lives in New Alkmaar on the Hudson River. New Alkmaar, like so many provincial towns of Holland America, is drying up, its economy going down despite all that hard-working Dutch can do to stave off the poor times. Crippled in a mill accident, life seems hopeless for him. His widowed mother goes quietly insane caring for him. Determined to make a way for himself, Pieter gets a job despite his handicap, but when he sees he will get nowhere even with a steady job in New Alkmaar, he joins the migration of the unemployed to New Amsterdam, the last city where some wealth is still circulating, thanks to rich Britons and Dutch who frequent the main hotels. Will he succeed in finding a job and not starve to death? It is a big risk he is taking, but if the loss of his legs has taught him anything it is that he must fight for survival against all odds if he is to have an chance at all. So far he has found work by fighting for it, and he hopes that New Amsterdam will bow to his unbending, stiff-necked, never-say-quit Dutch perseverance--a trait that can be both a blessing and a curse.
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