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Exultant: Destiny's Children Book 2 (GOLLANCZ S.F.) [Hardcover]

Stephen Baxter
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

23 Sep 2004 GOLLANCZ S.F.

Set 25,000 years from now, EXULTANT takes mankind into a millenial war for the control of the galaxy itself. A war against the unknowable, utterly alien Xeelee.

Now the war has reached the galaxy's hot core, the Xeelee stronghold and, impossibly, it seems that a final victory may be at hand.

It is a victory that will rely on mankind's latest warriors. In a war for survival you are expected to live bravely and die young for the good of the greater. A massive selective breeding campaign has led to the best solution - child soldiers.

But the Xeelee predate man by millions of years and they will not be easily beaten.

EXULTANT is an epic dark novel of a savage future. It is at once a warning about the dangers of winning whatever the cost and a hugely impressive piece of SF.


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (23 Sep 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575074280
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575074286
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.6 x 4.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,357,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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More About the Author

Stephen Baxter is the pre-eminent SF writer of his generation. Published around the world he has also won major awards in the UK, US, Germany, and Japan. Born in 1957 he has degrees from Cambridge and Southampton. He lives in Northumberland with his wife.

Here are the Destiny's Children novels in series order:

Coalescent
Exultant
Transcendent
Resplendent

Time's Tapestry novels in series order:

Emperor
Conqueror
Navigator Weaver

Flood novels:

Flood
Ark

Time Odyssey series (with Arthur C Clarke):

Time's Eye
Sunstorm
Firstborn

Manifold series:

Time
Space
Origin
Phase Space

Mammoth series:

Mammoth (aka Silverhair)
Long Tusk
Ice Bones
Behemoth

NASA trilogy:

Voyage
Titan
Moonseed

Xeelee sequence:

Raft
Timelike Infinity
Flux
Ring
Vacuum Diagrams (linked short stories)
The Xeelee Omnibus (Raft, Timelike Infinity, Flux, Ring)

The Web series for Young Adults:

Gulliverzone
Webcrash

Coming in 2010:

Stone Spring - book one of the Northland series

Product Description

Review

Absurdly ambitious, technically brilliant and downright exciting (Jonathan Wright SFX)

Warfare and human evolution as they have rarely been depicted. Baxter's writing and characters are vivid, and the focus on humanity's possible development remains the saga's core theme. Fascinating serious SF (Brigid Cherry DREAMWATCH)

Baxter once again offers up stunning cutting edge physics (Liz Sourbut NEW SCIENTIST) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

The sequel to the acclaimed COALESCENT - a landmark epic picture of mankind's possible futures.

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First Sentence
Far ahead, bathed in the light of the Galaxy's centre, the nightfighters were rising. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Megalomaniac Space Opera 22 Jun 2006
By Corsair
Format:Paperback
Exultant has none of the same characters as Coalescent and it does not continue the story either. So in what way exactly is this book a sequel? Well, it's thematic, and the theme is, approximately, the family. In Coalescent Baxter examined a society in which everyone belongs to the same family; now, in Exultant, he looks at a society in which there is no such thing as the family.

And what an unpleasant society it is. Baxter presents us with a hideous centrally-planned dystopia reminiscent of a cross between Stalinism and ancient Egypt, which manufactures billions of human beings ex-utero deliberately for use as cannon fodder in a galactic war that has been going on for so long that the ruling bureaucracy now has a vested interest in not winning it. His protagonists are instances of such human beings: teenage conscripts (that word barely touches the wretchedness of their condition) who have been created to be nothing more than biological components of a vast military machine. Their lives are expendable, utterly worthless, until one of them makes an innovative discovery...

This is space opera on a megalomaniac scale. It's also Baxter's first stab at military sci-fi. The reader inevitably recalls Starship Troopers, but Baxter has rummaged around widely, chucking the Western Front, the Dambusters and even Star Wars into the mix too, and no doubt many others I missed. It works well, and Baxter is certainly not interested in mocking the military virtues that are all his deracinated young heroes have to sustain them. Nor, intriguingly, is he interested in mocking the (illegal) religious beliefs that the conscripts adhere to.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Space opera meets project management 19 Oct 2004
Format:Hardcover
I'm a big ole Baxter fan, and I usually devour them in one sitting, as I did here. Coalaescent was one of Baxter's better books, which went someway toward untiting the cosmic and the particular. A pretty decent stab at an emotionally developed autobiographical novel combined with some excllent biological speculation and a well-painted re-imagining of Athurian Romano-British history. Baxter fans of old like me could get a frission from his references to his sprawling Xeelee future history.
Witht he second novel, Baxter is in space opera-land, a mileu of ray-guns and starships. And he's obviously revellling in it. It would not be unfair to sya that this book really bridges the uncomplicated 'Star Wars stuff' with the more serious Olaf Stapledon branch of the genre. A lot of the fittings are off-the-shelf - galactic war, child-space-warriors, all-powerful and unknowable aliens, military corruption and incompetence, missions of derringdo, the horror of war, etc. etc. Baxter even works in a pointed critique of Starship Troopers. (In some ways the book resembles the movie, rather than the book.)
The genuinely new elements are brilliant - such as the time-travelling bewildering nature of a faster than light war. It's possible other writers have developed this, but I not aware of it. It also allows Baxter to indulge in one his complex, non-linear plots. However, I still felt the idea was undercooked. More on the human cost of this would have been welcome. I also enjoyed the unreconsructed nature of his cosmic battle - World War I trench warfare, dogfights, flack-batteries and everything. Obviously, he's been watching a lot of war movies... And of course, Star Wars is a rather bald influence. Has 'hard' SF made peace with George Lucas?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Baxter by the numbers 28 Nov 2010
Format:Paperback
After Coalescent, Exultant was to me something of a disappointment.

Set in the Xeelee universe it is almost a "Xeelee Greatest Hits", with references all over the place to other incidents in the Xeelee sequence. While compelling and interesting in its own way, it's the type of novel Baxter can write standing on his head.

The one innovative feature is a novel that finally takes FTL travel's implications properly - ships that use FTL travel go back in time and so the core of the novel is the fate of a crew who have ended up at base before they left and come across their earlier selves. However, this is not fully or consistently explored - for example on an FTL trip to Earth no other paradoxes occur.

Better-than-average space opera, nice to see more Xeelee material, but fairly routine Baxter.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Destiny's Children part 2 5 Jan 2005
By NatM
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
After finishing Coalescence I couldn't wait to get my teeth into part 2. I wasn't dissapointed!
Although set in a different time and with a whole new set of characters the story is as fast paced as one would expect of Baxter. The different strands of the story weave together to keep the readers interest right until the last page... and I can't wait for Part 3.
For readers new to Baxter, you may want to go back afterwards and read some of his other novels in the 'Xeelee Sequence' - at which point you'll be sitting there thinking "Ah, right! Now that makes sense!"
I give this book a big thumbs up.
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