Many Waters (Time Quintet #4)

by Madeleine L'Engle

Other authorsCover Art (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 1991



Local notes

PB Len


Farrar Straus Giroux (1991), Edition: 2nd


The fifteen-year-old Murry twins, Sandy and Dennys, are accidentally sent back to a strange Biblical time period, in which mythical beasts roam the desert and a man named Noah is building a boat in preparation for a great flood.

Original publication date


Physical description

8.5 inches



User reviews

LibraryThing member Jim53
In this fourth volume of L'Engle's "Time Trilogy," the twins get their turn. The "ordinary" brothers of the exceptional Meg and Charles Wallace Murray mess with an experiment and are transported to a strange desert. When they meet Japheth, the alert reader realizes what's going on: they have found their way into the story of Noah and the flood.

While unexceptional in our time, the twins find they can speak the Old Language and, when they listen, understand messages from the stars. They meet seraphim and nephilim, and both fall in love with Noah's youngest daughter, Yalith. They learn that sometimes tending a garden and waiting patiently is what is called for, and that when it comes to unicorns, believing is seeing, rather than vice versa.

L'Engle manages to make simple things deeply moving. She mixes in her ideas about science, magic, and faith without making them intrusive. As always, her theme is the power of love to overcome all obstacles. Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member BMorrisAllen
It's been a long time since I read the first three books in this series, so I have relatively vague memories of the various kids. Still, I recalled enough to know that this is the first time the twins Sandy and Denny get to enjoy the spotlight. In this story, the twins are sent back in time to live with Noah and his relatives, pre-ark. It's a pleasant read that nicely straddles both the line between child and adult, and between religious faith and scepticism. It is by nature a religious story, but not so much that it hits you over the head. The twins themselves seem unconvinced by the end of the book.

All in all, a nice read that doesn't so much continue the Murry story's family, as send two of its characters on a tangential adventure.
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LibraryThing member Jean_Sexton
Many Waters suffers by comparison with the other books in The Quintet of Time series. Any reader familiar with the story of Noah knows the framework of the novel. Still, these themes are timeless: choices made have consequences, evil fears and tries to destroy good, love is essential, and doing good things is necessary to stem evil.

This quotation stuck with me: Goodness has never been a guarantee of safety. And I think this quotation sums up the book: Many waters cannot quench the thirst for love, nor can the floods drown it.
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LibraryThing member MerryMary
Meg's brothers Sandy and Dennys get their own story this time. Interfering with a computer experiment lands them in the neighborhood of Noah before the flood. The boys struggle with the knowlege of what is to come, and try to deal with the evil forces already present in the young world.
LibraryThing member satyridae
I've got no memory at all of this, though I could have sworn I read it. I liked seeing Sandy and Dennys away from the rest of the Murry clan, and I really enjoyed what can only be called a Biblically-inspired romp in the desert. I found L'Engle's take on the supernatural beings interesting, and I'd love one of those pocket mammoths.

And yet there wasn't any blood here. No juice. No essence. No matter the faults of the other Murry books, they are juicy and full of life. This one struck me as extraordinarily dry. Also, what's with all the rosy breasts? Every single breast in this book was rosy.

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LibraryThing member NocturnalBlue
I loved Madeline L'Engle when I was younger. Still do. However, when I reread this book, I noticed a bit of prudishness that somehow went over my 10 year old head. Still, I love how L'Engle attempts to reconcile science and faith, showing that they are not mutually exclusive. She succeeds more often than not. Not the strongest of the time quartet, but certainly not the weakest (that title belongs to A Swiftly Tilting Planet).… (more)
LibraryThing member jkepler
This is the fourth book in L'Engle's time quartet, and I discovered it at McKay's long after reading the first three books. The storyline involves traveling back to the time of Noah just before the global flood.
LibraryThing member lcrouch
I was so sorry to see this one end. Ms. L'Engle incorporated the the story of Noah and the flood so perfectly, giving us Noah and his family, including forebears, as living, breathing human beings.
LibraryThing member ethelmertz
Maybe my least favorite of the time quartet, but still a good read.
LibraryThing member puttocklibrary
Although I'm not a fan of most biblically based stories, this one was an interesting enough take on the basic story to catch my interest. I also enjoyed the opportunity to get to know two of the lesser-known Murry siblings, and I found it to an interesting journey through the maturing process of two teenage boys.
LibraryThing member baggette
I really like this book and the ending was truly a surprise. Knowing the traditional fable of Noah, I kept wondering how this could end happily. Worth the read, just to keep you guessing.
LibraryThing member jd234512
This was quite an interesting book and once again, Madeline fails to let me down. Although this wasn't necessarily one of the better books I've read by her, it still has many parts that point to the wonderful lady she is as well as the incredible ideology that she upholds. She has a way of putting more to a story.
LibraryThing member tjsjohanna
Jumping back in time from "A Swiftly Tilting Planet", this book puts the twins, Sandy & Dennys on center stage. I particularly enjoyed this novel and it's imaginative rendering of the time just before The Flood as the twins live among Noah's extended family. The seraphim and nephilim are interesting because they raise all kinds of questions about power and choices and harmony. Well done.… (more)
LibraryThing member HippieLunatic
Many Waters solidified in my mind what makes L'Engle a talented writer, being able to explore Noah's world without feeling as though a religious message was taking the focus from the story.

As with other novels by L'Engle, there was a fair amount of science interspersed with the story, and there were a few pages I found myself either reading multiple times to find some comprehension or skipping after a brief scan to make sure there was nothing major related to the plot that I was missing in the pages.

Even with these moments of science, which distracted me from the important story of Dennys and Sandy (the Murray twins who were only on the sidelines of the other novels of the Time Quartet), the story was still a fun read. An exploration of a world of which they are vaguely cognizant through passed Sunday School classes, the comprehension that reality is defined within the moment of experience, these are the themes I was so in love with.

Yes, the story ends before many of my questions regarding the flood could be answered. Yes, there were some pages that dragged a bit, and the exploration of the names of the nephilim got to be a bit too long-winded for me. Even with these faults, though, Many Waters was perhaps my favorite of the series. I was more at home within the story of the boys out of place within time, more at home within the story of intelligent characters but not super-geniuses.
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LibraryThing member TnTexas
I thought the book was better than the second in the series but not as good as the first or third ones. The events in this one should have been reflected in the twins' reactions in the third book since chronologically it takes place before it. But the book wasn't written until after the third book was written, so they aren't. One of the hazards of writig the evnets of a series out of order.

The kids enjoyed the book, but I think we all thought A Wrinkle in Time was the best of the bunch.
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LibraryThing member TheMightyQuinn
One of the 'best' four by Madeleine L'Engle. Sandy and Dennis are the twin younger brothers of Meg Murry. They are transported back in time by a computer program built by their father, on the backs of unicorns, and find themselves in the midst of the Noah's ark tale. Recommend for Middle school and up. Some people are confused by philosophical/physics elements of the series.… (more)
LibraryThing member gillis.sarah
Second favorite Time Quartet book. I find it really interesting because of Madeleine L'Engle's interpretation of pre-flood society. A lot of her books that I've read deal with religious or theological themes, but this is the one that explores it most literally. Also, it's a good book.
LibraryThing member AlexTheHunn
I became entranced with L'Engle's writing back in the 60s. I first read A Wrinkle in Time in jr high and thought it was delightful. Even now, as a non-believing adult, I find that her work holds up well.
LibraryThing member rakerman
Appalling. Do not read this book.

In particular if you enjoyed A Wrinkle in Time, don't read this book.
This book is like some crazy junk written by a completely different author.
LibraryThing member readafew
Many Waters is the 4th book in the Time Quintet series. This book the twins Sandy and Denny get their turn at an adventure. After accidentally interfering with an experiment their dad had in progress they find themselves sent to the middle of the desert, and slowly discover they've gone back in time, before the great flood. They make friends with Noah and his family as well as meet a host of interesting people and animals.

Overall, a fun quick read and I don't think it was as good as the last one A Swiftly Tilting Planet. The time line seemed a little weak and inconsistent and the point of the whole story seemed to be the twins growing up into men and making grow-up decisions. The strange thing is the book seems to imply support for both a young earth and evolution. It also has a few other mutually exclusive ideas presented. A fun little story but not very deep.
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LibraryThing member lgaikwad
About mystery and listening.
LibraryThing member Stormydawnc
This isn't my favorite book in the Time Quintent, but it's close. I love that the focus changes from Meg and/or Charles Wallace to Sandy and Dennys-- the "ordinary" ones of the family, as they say. They have their own adventure as well, which is handled with the complexity that it deserves. Looking back, there's a lot of issue packed in the book, given it's size. Sandy and Dennys can't deny that they've traveled through time and space, but they don't just accept everything either. It's refreshing to see them struggle with belief, knowledge of what happens in the future, and their own feelings. I always thought the biblical setting was extremely well-done.… (more)
LibraryThing member greeniezona
I remembered this book as my favorite of the Time Quintet, so when I started reading the series to Jefferson, this was the one I was most looking forward to reading to him. It was mostly as magical as I remembered, with the nephilim and seraphim. There were some ways that what seemed to be an uncomfortable simplification of evolution annoyed me (manticores that can speak -- fine. But tiny mammoths? Really?) Then there were all the scenes of the twins' blossoming sexual awareness (all PG-rated, but still) that were vaguely awkward to read to one's ten-year-old son.

I'm looking forward to reading the fourth book, which I don't think I ever got to when I was young.
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LibraryThing member TrgLlyLibrarian
I think I liked it better than A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and definitely better than A Wind in the Door. Unique take on pre-history, and nice to see real female characters placed into a familiar story...
LibraryThing member raizel
The first chapter didn't grab my interest enough.

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