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Nova War (Shoal Sequence) Hardcover – 4 Sep 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Tor (4 Sept. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230706800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230706804
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 321,327 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Prior to becoming a professional writer, Gary Gibson worked for an environmental agency, but left shortly after other members of staff attempted to levitate a local bridge as a protest against road traffic.

Following this, he worked as a graphic designer for a printing firm that turned out to be run by a gang of convicted forgers, hastening his departure, and then for a small publishing company otherwise notable only for producing a Freddie Mercury impersonator well-known on the Scottish cabaret circuit. Until recently he resided in Taipei with his wife, and is pleased to say that the only lunatic he has to answer to these days is himself.

He has a blog at

Product Description


'A sharp, sophisticated and hugely entertaining SF novel.'

'With the second novel in the Dakota Merrick trilogy, Gibson stakes his claim to be considered alongside the leading triumvirate of British hard SF writers: Al Reynolds, Peter Hamilton, and Neal Asher. What Gibson does well, he does exceedingly well. ' --Guardian

'A sharp, sophisticated and hugely entertaining SF novel.' --SFX

'The inventiveness and sense of wonder are raised a notch and the novel is a page turner you do not want to put down... In the top class of the field alongside PF Hamilton or Iain M. Banks.' --Fantasy Book Critic

'For an enthralling widescreen space opera with characters and aliens that are both interesting and engrossing this is the books to read. Very highly recommended.'
--Walker of Worlds

Book Description

In Stealing Light, Dakota discovered the Shoal’s dark and dangerous secret, now she works towards stopping not only the spread of this knowledge, but also the onset of the Nova war. Found adrift near a Bandati colony world far away from Consortium space, Dakota and Corso find themselves prisoners of the Bandati. It becomes rapidly clear to them, that the humanity’s limited knowledge of the rest of the galaxy – filtered through the Shoal – is direly inaccurate. The Shoal have been fighting a frontier war with a rival species, the Emissaries, with their own FTL technology for over fifteen thousand years. Realising that the Shoal may be the Galaxy’s one chance at sustained peace, Dakota is forced to work with Trader to prevent the spread of deadly knowledge carried on board the Magi ships. But it seems that the Nova War is inevitable…

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Diziet on 1 Sept. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gary Gibson's 'Nova War' is the second part of the Shoal Sequence trilogy. Part One is Stealing Light. It doesn't make a lot of sense to read this without first having read Stealing Light.

It is a classic Space Opera, spanning the galaxy, leaping from spiral arm to spiral arm but, like it's predecessor, it really could have done with a bit more active editing - Gary Gibson's use of hyperbole and seriously over-the-top metaphor intrudes frequently and makes a gripping tale pretty hard going at times.

It starts slowly, if rather painfully, with the first hundred pages or so given over to the torture of our heroes Dakota Merrick and Lucas Corso by the 'Bandati', a race of winged aliens with peculiar names (such as the Proustian 'Remembrance of Things Past') - clients of the Shoal, themselves a race of strangely named fish-like aliens who possess the secret of superluminal (i.e. faster than light) travel.

Once that is out of the way, the book really gets going. It expands into not just a story of a few humans faced with aliens, but a great political struggle between factions within the Shoal, rival Hive Queens within the Bandati and the arrival of the hilariously bloodthirsty, violent and fanatical rivals of the Shoal - the Emissaries.

Behind all this is the struggle for the possession of not only the Nova bomb technology but also the search for the Magi and the Makers. So - a wonderfully complex and devious plot.

The timeline is not straightforward, as the story jumps about, filling in details from the past. In particular, we find out the origins of the thoroughly nasty Hugh Moss.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Wittgenfrog on 22 Feb. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This rather unusually improves upon the first in the series Stealing Light. The writing is sparser: there is less unecessary detail and recapitulation . There are a variety of set-piece events all of which are decently done and move the plot along, which is not always the case in this genre.
The various "political" sub-plots are all tweaked and tested at various points and Gibson has kept a grip on who is doing what to whom and why.

The direction of travel looks good for an interesting finale!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By T. McAuley on 12 Sept. 2009
Format: Hardcover
The preceding volume to this one, Stealing Light, culminated in the human protagonists, Dakota Merrick and Lucas Corso, fleeing an exploding star having discovered the dark secret that a superluminal drive could force a sun to go nova, making it a phenomenal weapon. They ended up in a system controlled by the Bandati, a race whose social organisation resembles that of insects, with Hives ruled by Queens.

It is at this point that Nova War takes up the story: Dakota and Lucas have been captured and extensively tortured by the Bandati, who want to know all they know about FTL travel Meanwhile, Shoal agent Trader-in-Faecal-Matter-to-Animals, is continuing in his efforts to prevent the spread of knowledge of the FTL secret, and preserve his race. His job is made more difficult, however, by the revelation that the Bandati have long had a Magi derelict of their own, and have been secretly in contact with the Emissaries, an aggressively expansionist race who also possess FTL technology, and with whom the Shoal have been fighting a secretive cold-war for centuries. With conflict occurring between rival Bandati Hives, suddenly Dakota and Lucas' knowledge of the Magi makes them valuable commodities, and they have no choice but to negotiate their way through a tangled web of treacherous alien agendas in order to find some way to protect the Human race, as the Shoal-Emissary conflict enters a new phase, and the purposes of the intelligent Magi starships become clearer, too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By alextorres on 18 Feb. 2011
Format: Hardcover
Gary Gibson's "Nova War" is an exciting, gripping space-war novel that sparkles with credible science-fiction invention.

This was the first book by Gibson that I've read. It was very enjoyable so I'll definitely be buying more.

"Nova War" is the sequel to "Stealing Light", but Gibson fill in any gaps that you might need so that it reads well as a stand-alone novel in its own right.

The plot moves along apace with plenty of excitement along the way. The story-telling hops between different scenarios relating to the main four characters, following their differing paths until they converge for the finale. This is a well established and effective story-telling technique and Gibson uses it well in the main. However, occasionally, it feels a bit cumbersome as he flips back in the plot's time-line, causing the reader to just hesitate slightly in getting to an understanding of what's going on. Thankfully, this happens rarely enough for it not to affect the overall enjoyment.

A book worthy of other luminaries of the scene, such as Alastair Reynolds.
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