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Dark Light: Engines of Light Book 2 [Paperback]

Ken MacLeod
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

24 Oct 2002 Engines of Light

The Second Sphere is thousands of light years away from Earth - if Earth still exists. For Matt Cairns and the cosmonauts of the Bright Star, this distant corner of the galaxy is their new home.

But the Second Sphere is also home to other civilisations, lifted from their worlds by a race of god-like aliens. On Croatan, two of these civilisations live a precarious co-existence, separated by eons of technological advance. The arrival of the Bright Star is an event that may trigger disaster, for this is the first human-crewed starship to arrive at the ancient colony.

And all the time, hidden among the stars, the gods are watching. They have always been watching.

Find out more about this title and others at www.orbitbooks.co.uk

Frequently Bought Together

Dark Light: Engines of Light Book 2 + Engine City: Engines of Light Book 3 + Cosmonaut Keep: Engines of Light: Book One: Bk.1
Price For All Three: 25.96

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; New edition edition (24 Oct 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841491098
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841491097
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 347,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Since graduating from Glasgow University in 1976, Ken MacLeod has worked as a computer analyst in Edinburgh. He now writes full-time.

Product Description


A modern-day George Orwell (SFX)

A hectic ride, through slaloms of audacious complexity, irreverent ingenuity and paradox as purposeful as it is playful (GUARDIAN)

Book Description

* Following on from COSMONAUT KEEP, which was shortlisted for the 2002 Hugo Award, this is the second book in the dazzling new space opera series by one of SF's most exciting new authors.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The tricky second novel in any series is fraught with pitfals all of which MacLeod avoids skillfully. MacLeod's skill in characterization and plot development are displyed to good effect in Dark Light. If I could offer any constructive criticism it would be that MacLeod spins off ideas that would merit further deveolpment with such frequency that I found myself wishing for a book twice or thrice the size to fully explore all of them. I suppose that I am complaining about taught prose that leaves you wanting more which means that Ken, Mic and Tim have done their jobs rather well, not much of a complaint if truth be told.
The alternating timelines of Cosmanaut Keep have been dispensed with in favour of a linnear narrative which may make for easier reading for some. Criticism has been leveled at MacLeod in the past for the alternate political views expressed in his novels, while they are still present in Dark Light they are much less overt and are presented alongside many of the philosophical arguments behind those political systems, which is not nearly as dry as it sounds (what, you expected New Labour, Blair, Brown et al to get you to the stars?).
I should also make it clear that the naming of a heretical anthropologist in the novel had nothing to do with me but the honour was bought in an auction at a SF convention by Guy Dawson and not myself (More's the pity!).
I find it increasingly perplexing that Macleod continues to be nominated for the Clark prize and continually fails to win, especially as he seems to have developed a corollary to Clarks law that states if any sufficently advanced technology is indistiguisable from magic then the holder of the technology is probably ripe for worship from any lesser civilization.
As an author MacLeod has always been and continues to be very good value in all respects and Dark Light is no exception...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Those who have read COSMONAUT KEEP should find this a worthwhile continuation. I liked it better than the first book, myself, because of the increased political and theological speculation.
Especially fascinating is MacLeod's concept of the Gods and their relationship with humanity. Not highly recommended to extreme conservative religionists.
I did find myself mired down a couple of times in the political dissertations. However, MacLeod basically tells a good story. How good a story it is depends, I suppose, on the concluding book in the series. But these first two are interesting enough and I'm getting to better like the characters, and so I will be reading the final installment.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The trilogy develops well 1 Jan 2004
Less sf this time and more of a politicial / social thriller, this is the second volume in the trilogy begun by Cosmonaut Keep. The cosmonauts have made their journey and arrived in a stable society, a society based on tight control of space travel and that certainly doesn't welcome a change to the status quo.
It's typically Ken MacLeod - particularly the way that a grass-roots trade union movement can solve all intergalactic-strife. This time he takes an interesting slant on gender politics too.
It works well as a stand-alone novel, although I think Cosmonaut Keep preserves its novelty better if read first. I'm certainly looking forward to Engine City.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fascinating 9 Aug 2003
By ru
i read this book in a single 14-hour sitting, which gives you an idea of what a page-turner i found it.
it's much improved over Cosmonaut Keep. the main charaters are much more active, and i love the way the sections from the POV of the 200+ year old Matt Cairns are all written in the present tense - it gives a very strong sense of a man out of time.
the politics in the book is very academic (and a bit dated), but interesting nonetheless. the idea of political systems as technology that can be introduced with just as potent effect as internal combustion deserves exploration; it's a shame that many people will turn their noses up at it because it doesn't gel with their own views.
so, not quite five stars; the eulogising of the "heathens" rings quite false, it would have been more convincing if a more balanced picture of their society was portayed. also i thought it was implausible that there should be such racial tension between humans, and yet little evident between different species. still, those are pretty minor considerations in a good book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Continuing the trans-galactic romp 7 Mar 2003
With this second book in the series, it's clear that Macleod's Engines of Light series is plotting a different course than the one you might expect from the author of the Fall Revolution series of novels. In Cosmonaut Keep, the first novel of the series, Macleod's picture of life in a Communist dominated European Union of 2049 seemed to be following the same path as his earlier novels, but that was counterpointed by the life of the Cosmonaut Families of Mingulay and his introduction of the worlds of the Second Sphere, gradually linking the two stories together and then launching off into a world where SF cliches had become real and dangerous.
Dark Light does follow on directly from Cosmonaut Keep, but it also stands as a novel in its own right - you could read it on its own, but it's a lot more fun to have read Cosmonaut Keep first - with Matt Cairns again centre stage, but this time perhaps even more out of his depth than he was first time around, trying to find his way among the plottings of various human groups on the world of Croatan, while also attempting to take the Bright Star into space to communicate with the 'gods' and find an answer as to why the Second Sphere exists in the first place.
Dark Light still has the political element that has helped to distibguish Macleod from so many of his contemporaries, but it's coupled with a striking narrative and an engaging plot, which makes this definitely worth reading and I, for one, can't wait for the final part - Engine City.
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