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Stealing Light Hardcover – 5 Oct 2007


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 388 pages
  • Publisher: Tor (5 Oct. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230700403
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230700406
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 670,347 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 www.garygibson.net.

Product Description

Review

'Stealing Light is remarkably free from the thick soup of description and metaphor normally associated with books of its genre'
-- Death Ray

'a gripping interplanetary saga close in tone to both Alistair Reynolds and Peter F Hamilton, but with enough edge and imagination to give it its own unique flavour...a seriously entertaining sci-fi pageturner.' -- SFX

'ambitious, clever and ultimately rewarding...Impressive.' -- Starburst

Book Description

In the 25th century, only the Shoal possess the secret of faster-than-light travel (FTL), giving them absolute control over all trade and exploration throughout the galaxy. Mankind has operated within their influence for two centuries, establishing a dozen human colony worlds scattered along Shoal trade routes. Dakota Merrick, while serving as a military pilot, has witnessed atrocities for which this alien race is responsible. Now piloting a civilian cargo ship, she is currently ferrying an exploration team to a star system containing a derelict starship. From its wreckage, her passengers hope to salvage a functioning FTL drive of mysteriously non-Shoal origin. But the Shoal are not yet ready to relinquish their monopoly over a technology they acquired through ancient genocide.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Mark Chitty on 13 Mar. 2008
Format: Hardcover
It is the 25th century and the Consortium spreads out over an area of space in the orion arm. Although humanity do not have the capability to use ftl travel, a species called the Shoal do, and are the only species in the galaxy with that know-how. They happily transport humans within the area they have been designated, but they also put strict limits within the agreement they have with humans, one among many being the prohibition of research into ftl travel.

Dakota Merrick is a machine head, a human with implants that were made illegal after a terrible attack that killed many innocent humans. She now does whatever work she can get using her ship, Piri Reis, although sometimes taking dangerous cargo to keep the money coming in. It is during a job like this that things go wrong and she must get out of the Sol system quickly and keep her head down. She gets work on board the Hyperion, working for the Freehold in what she is told is a scout mission searching for a new planet for them.

Lucas Corso is blackmailed into working for the Freehold, his specialist skills in Shoal computer language desperately desired. The Freehold have discovered a derelict ship, one with ftl capabilities, but not of Shoal origin. They hope to retrieve this ship and use it for what they hope will be a glorious victory over their enemies and the start of independent human expansion throughout the galaxy, all under their watchful eye. However, the Shoal have kept a secret for thousands of years and are prepared to protect it at all costs. Now that this derelict is discovered, that secret is at risk of being revealed.

The derelict found by the Freehold is the main focus of this novel and brings together all characters we meet.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mr. C. J. Taylor on 13 Oct. 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a strange read from beginning to end. The plot was either frustratingly obvious, with the characters piecing it together like a drunk attempting a jigsaw puzzle, or just confusing, with random leaps of logic. There were some great ideas in there, original and solid, but the delivery was a little off. It's also worth saying that I'd read the next in the trilogy, if only to find out what happens next as the ending a very abrupt (and a little daft). Not a bad holiday read.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dan1986 on 29 July 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading through these mixed reviews and deciding to buy the book and find out for myself. I've decided to pass on my thoughts.

First of all, don't buy the book expecting Hamilton, Banks or anyone of that ilk. As this is not the same scale, style or general read. However, it is entertaining, fairly fast paced, and a good overall idea (as mentioned before).

The main issue is it's just not as deep as other books I've read.

My advice would be not to expect too much and you "should" enjoy it. I've recently got into Neal Asher I would recommend him if you have finished most of Hamilton and Bank's work.

Hope this is helpful.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Morley on 28 Dec. 2008
Format: Paperback
"Stealing Light" was a great read - I swept through it very quickly. The action moves through a series of settings, roughly aligned with the three parts of the book, and each setting is driven by different but overlapping concerns. The ending was good but seemed to be a rather sudden turn-around in the last page or two. I can't help but think that there was a better book lurking in here which weaves the plot strands a little more elegantly.

This might sound like a negative review but despite all this I really enjoyed the book and liked the ideas behind the plot. I felt the book had some resonances with themes in the "Babylon 5" TV series. I'll be trying one of Mr Gibson's other books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. Whitehead TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
The 26th Century. Humanity has gained access to the stars thanks to the Shoal, the only race in the Galaxy to have developed a transluminal drive. Humanity leases space on the great Shoal coreships as they make a circuit of inhabited systems in the Orion Spiral Arm. The Shoal guard the secrets of FTL jealously and even murderously, so when a human colony discovers an ancient alien derelict in the Nova Arctis system, apparently with a still-functional FTL drive, the colonists make the decision to secretly extract and replicate the drive for themselves.

However, the alien ship is guarded by ancient software protocols and defence systems that ordinary humans cannot overcome. To this end, Dakota Merrick (a 'machine-head' with illegal brain implants) and Lucas Corso (an expert in computer language) are drafted in to help with the retrieval operation. Needless to say, the operation does not go as planned, for both the Shoal and their enemies are one step ahead of the game...

Stealing Light is the opening novel in The Shoal Sequence, a space opera trilogy which is - hooray! - now complete (the later volumes are Nova War and Empire of Light). It is a fast-paced, fiendishly readable SF novel built on an intriguing premise (one alien race in the Galaxy controls FTL and rations it to its vassal species very grudgingly) which is then expanded and explored in a very logical fashion (the FTL drive has some intriguing side-effects which the Shoal don't want other races to find out about) and delivered through some effective action set-pieces and some solid character-building, with Dakota Merrick being a fine SF heroine, albeit a hugely flawed one.
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