International best seller Faulks is noted for his sensitive handling of historical material, and, indeed, four of the five linked stories here tread historical ground. Among Faulkss protagonists are a young prisoner of war in World War II Poland who imagines going to bat on a cricket field, a man in Victorian times desolate because he has given away his son, a servant in 19th-century France suddenly grasping the meaning of a Bible story, and a girl in the 1970s Catskills whose music mesmerizes. Then theres the futurist story about a scientist in Italy drawing parallels between time and the human brain. All juicily readable stuff.

From the critically acclaimed, bestselling author of "Birdsong" comes a new novel about love and warNfive transporting stories and five unforgettable lives, linked across centuries.