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Absorption: Ragnarok 1: Ragnarok v. 1 [Hardcover]

John Meaney
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Book Description

20 May 2010

600 years from now on the world of Fulgor Roger Blackstone, son of two Pilots (long-time alien spies, masquerading as ordinary humans) aches to see the mythical Pilot's city of Labyrinth, in the fractal ur-continuum of mu-space.

In 8th century Norseland, a young carl called Wulf kills a man, watched by a mysterious warrior who bears the mark of Loki the Trickster God.

In 1920s Zurich, Gavriela Silberstein enters the long, baroque central hallway of the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule where Einstein so recently studied.

And on a nameless world, not knowing his human heritage, a silver-skinned youth tries to snatch back an Idea - but it floats away on gentle magnetic currents.

There are others across the ages, all with three things in common: they glimpse shards of darkness moving at the edge of their vision; they hear echoes of a dark, disturbing musical chord; and they will dream of joining a group called the Ragnarok Council.

ABSORPTION is the first novel of RAGNAROK, a new space opera trilogy of high-tech space warfare, unitary intelligences made up of millions of minds, the bizarre physics of dark energy, quantum mechanics and a mindblowing rationale for Norse mythology.



Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (20 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575085339
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575085336
  • Product Dimensions: 3.4 x 16.3 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 686,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm John Meaney (aka Thomas Blackthorne), writer of hard SF, gothic SF/dark fantasy, and near-future thrillers. Having studied physics and computer science, I've been a globetrotting IT consultant and taught software engineering on three continents. Nowadays, I hide in a Welsh valley and write full-time.

I've trained in martial arts since I was a kid, primarily shotokan karate. I'm a trained hypnotist, so don't look into my eyes... And I adore cats. (And www.johnmeaney.com is my online home - pop in and say hi!)


P.S. For readers shopping at amazon.co.uk - please note that Black Blood is a US import, being the title the American publishers chose to use for the book that's called Dark Blood over here. (Writers don't choose titles or cover art or any of that stuff. We don't like it when something appears under 2 different titles, because in the long run it costs us readers!) To be fair to the publishers, Black Blood was my original working title, but it changed a year before US publication. The US edition contains later revisions compared to the British version, but they're minor.

Publishers buy the rights to publish in certain countries, so the US publishers weren't thinking of American books being sold in Britain. The business is country-based, but the Web is global.

Product Description

Book Description

The universe is dark. And it is alive. Hard SF Space Opera to rival Peter F. Hamilton.

About the Author

John Meaney is the author of To Hold Infinity, Paradox and Context. To Hold Infinity and Paradox were on the BSFA shortlists for Best Novel in 1999 and 2001 respectively. The Times called John Meaney "The first important new sf writer of the 21st century." Meaney has a degree in physics and computer science, and holds a black belt in Shotokan Karate. He lives in Glamorgan.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 24 Jun 2010
By Ed.F TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As I've mentioned in other reviews I'm seriously fond of space opera, the more grandiose in scale and complexity the better and this 1st novel in a planned trilogy is frankly brilliant. It delivers on every level with tight plotting, efficient characterisation and compelling world building. The use of a multi threaded narrative, set in multiple time periods delivers a great deal of tension and pace and unusually doesn't get too confusing to follow. Following three primary characters from the dark ages, early 20th century and from 600 years from now, their stories are intertwined with a host of other characters from various time periods around the three main hubs.

The tension and pace ramp up through the book with hints as to the shape of the coming conflict and glimpses of both hidden capabilities and subtle conspiracies. I found myself genuinely gripped with the fates of various characters and found some of the plot twists both totally unexpected and quite moving.

I don't think I can recommend this highly enough. It's the best opener to a space opera trilogy since The Reality Dysfunction. Bravo!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Meaney's Finest 16 Jun 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I think this is the best novel John Meaney has written to date. It resonates with echoes of some of his earlier novels and short fiction, but while the reader's experience of this book might benefit from having read To Hold Infinity, Paradox, Context, and Resolution, I'm certain that won't be necessary to enjoy it. And if you like science fiction with fascinating characters, exotic yet believable settings, excellent writing, and lots of layers of meaning and action, you will enjoy it a great deal.

Absorption is a richly interwoven narrative that navigates time and space with as much ease and style as one of Meaney's legendary Pilots. It immerses you in elegant complexities of character and story and scene, uniting the lives and destinies of beings from far-flung localities in a cause that leaves the familiar limitations of space and time behind, because the enemies of life are not bound by them. Meaney's villains are powerful, mysterious, well-conceived and downright scary in their ability to infiltrate and twist any reality, including our own.

The overall story is necessarily incomplete until the final volume, but Meaney manages to pause each thread in a satisfying place, while also spinning up new ones to whet the reader's appetite for what's to come. And if what's to come is as good as the first book, it's going to be worth waiting for.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A load of old tosh 4 Mar 2014
By John W
Format:Paperback
I gave up after about 80 pages. Lots of thinly-written, slow-moving threads with forgettable characters set in different times and places. I guess eventually the threads begin to link up into some overarching plot, but I got the impression the author knows he's got three books to write and is pacing the story accordingly. I was quite enjoying the thread about the Pilots, and would have liked to read a book about them, but I just couldn't be bothered with all the other tosh.

No sign of the promised high-tech space warfare. And he seemed to be trying to work in Hitler as a character, or as a tool of the darkness, which I didn't like.

In style this is like a combination of the worst bits of Stephen Baxter and Hannu Rajaniemi.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very good indeed 12 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this and its sequel. I am very much looking forward to the third part. There is just the right balance of exciting story and new tech visions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bit confusing storyline, jumping timelines 21 Nov 2012
By CjW TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The storyline is divided into time periods, each told in turn, then around again - it does get a bit confusing.

The book is well written otherwise and its an interesting read - I have the second volume to continue,
I suspect that both must be read to get the full picture; but my least favourite is the Viking era.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb SF 18 Dec 2010
By TZ-173
Format:Hardcover
Proper Science Fiction with an epic scale. This is the real deal...a book that takes modern technologic trends and extrapolates not just one level of future technology but at least four! covering 770AD all the way to 500 million AD. The enemy is a darkness itself, rather like Vernor Vinge's 'A Darkness upon the sky'... the enemy is in the background for this book, behind the scenes vast and malign.

We see Aliens for whom scent and taste are the primary senses, another race that appear to have four active personas at any time, a utopian city who's homes can be reshaped by a thought, sentient stealth ships, an ultra advanced internet and cyber criminals who can hack minds.

John even leads us to consider particle physics - "A Photon, light itself, travels at the speed of light. As things approach lightspeed time slows to nothing... what does this mean? It means photons are timeless, fragments of the initial universe-state untouched and untouchable" (roughly quoted from memory).

Absorbtion makes the Borg look like a prayer meeting and makes the Deathstar look as technological as a viking longboat.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not accessible to all. 31 Aug 2010
Format:Paperback
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed Absorption, the pacing is good, the variety of characters and their development is very satisfy
too read about and have unfold and slowly become entangled together but I would voice caution, there are a lot of ideas in
this book to get your head around, I found myself often re-reading whole paragraphs just trying to get to grips with the
ideas that the book was presenting, I don't know if thats down to me being dense or the ideas just taking a bit of thinking
to be pictured and understood in your head. Although if you are comfortable in the space Sci-fi genre then I would highly recommend the book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Not good enough to persuade me to buy the next one
Not good enough to persuade me to buy the next one. Any modern western writer reduced to using 1930s German Nazism as an example of supernatural evil simply lacks imagination and... Read more
Published 28 days ago by Randal
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Start
I enjoyed the breadth of this story. It took awhile for me to get into it and once I did I became immersed in it. Excited to start reading the second book......
Published 2 months ago by JonK
1.0 out of 5 stars Clever gibberish
This was the first John Meaney book that I've read and it will be the last. Being a fan of space operas, I was lured by the reviews. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Ian Morris
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly enjoyable set of parallel stories
Set in 700 AD, the 1940s, and various times in the future, this story intrigues and amuses.

A little like Stephen Baxter's wonderful Times Tapestry sequence - although... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mark Shackelford
5.0 out of 5 stars Truely Amazing!
This book was amazing!!! So inventive and interesting. I loved the different time lines and settings each so different and unique. Fulgor 2603 AD was my favourite. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Bookloverxx
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
An exciting read with a mysterious enemy and lots of sub plots to keep you happy. A good start to the trilogy.
Published 14 months ago by Mr. Mark A. Laborda
5.0 out of 5 stars A marvelous tale in n dimensions...
So much better than I had expected - well-balanced, good pacing, interesting charcters, a fantastic backdrop - and that most rare of wonders, a novel storyline. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Jonster
1.0 out of 5 stars Absolute tripe
An utterly confused plot with no sense of continuity or pacing, with too many uninteresting subplots which lead to nothing. The characters are absolutely dull and uncharismatic. Read more
Published 18 months ago by C. Champion
1.0 out of 5 stars Rubbish
I wanted to believe that this wasn't as bad as some of the reviewers said it was?

I wanted to believe that it was just a complex plot that other reviewers diddn't... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Benjamin Bruce
3.0 out of 5 stars Tries too hard
Whatever criticisms can be made of John Meaney's book (see below) lack of ambition is not among them. Read more
Published 24 months ago by John Fletcher
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