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Stealing Light (Shoal Sequence Book 1)

Stealing Light (Shoal Sequence Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Gary Gibson
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
Kindle Price: £1.78 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Product Description


"Ambitious, clever . . . impressive." "--Starburst"


'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.'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 662 KB
  • Print Length: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Tor; Reissue edition (28 Aug 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003GK21C6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #38,036 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
67 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable space opera with huge ideas 13 Mar 2008
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
3.0 out of 5 stars Average confusion 13 Oct 2008
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't compare to Hamilton 29 July 2010
By Dan1986
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read, some problems 28 Dec 2008
"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
4.0 out of 5 stars Good on aliens; not so good on plot 30 Sep 2009
I got this from the library, somewhat tentatively, as I like space opera, but the cover didn't have any positive reviews. I read it very quickly, it's an easy read, and things keep happening. There's a nice moment early on where a character knows something of the backstory and seems to be about to reveal it to another character who instead has him assassinated. But that's how suspense works here: characters explain what's happening, and they're only kept for explaining even more by senseless violence.
There are many good points. I like the aliens: they're not humanoid, there aren't too many of them, their names (with one exception) are what we call them, rather than some silly attempt to invent alien sounding words (lots of xs, zs, etc). He doesn't explain how a bunch of fish who didn't invent fire came to rule the galaxy, but the big concepts - long-ago wars in the magellanic clouds, ftl being known to only one alien race are fun.
It's not a book that it's worth thinking about too much. It's better than an explanation will make it seem. How could one man decode all the programming on an alien starship in a few weeks? There's too much emphasis on implants controlling their wearer without that person's knowledge. I realise that the backstory here serves two purposes: it sets up tension between characters who end as allies, and it primes the reader for the main character being taken over again. But then it happens a third time, and my belief suspenders were getting a little overstretched.
Unlike another reviewer, I quite liked the writing, generally. I just hated the ending, which couldn't come soon enough.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Good premise - Poor execution
I got about 4 chapters in and had to give up. The premise is good and I like some of the technology that is in it, but it is a very confusing writing style. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Kelvin Shirley
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very good read
Published 3 months ago by ronald gridley
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting enough but I got confused
It's an interesting book but swaps back and forth in it's timeline and locations for me to keep up and i ended up having to put the book down.
Published 5 months ago by Mark
4.0 out of 5 stars A really good read
This is the first book by Gary Gibson I've read an d I'll definitley spend the time reading the others he's written.
Published 6 months ago by P. Grant
5.0 out of 5 stars Really Good SciFi
The basic plot: Aliens rule the galaxy through being the only race that has faster than light travel (called the Shoal), they rule through simple economics and brutal colonisation... Read more
Published 8 months ago by A. Butler
4.0 out of 5 stars Another sprawling galactic space opera.
A solidly constructed addition to the modern space opera genre.

Plenty of other reviews go into great depth. Read more
Published 9 months ago by D. J. Ketchin
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb space opera on a grand scale
A cracking good read, with action, space battles, well-imagined aliens, dark secrets kept for millenia... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Jon Storm
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read
I've enjoyed reading this book. I'm not going to say that it is perfect and some of the points raised by other reviewers do strike a chord. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Nick_2039
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read
Great ideas and story line. I have immediately started the next in the series. I like the idea of machine head's, people with massive computing power available to them in their... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Booklover
4.0 out of 5 stars An accessible and fast read that is laced with mysteries, twists and...
Nothing is quite what it seems in Stealing Light. No character can be trusted - by us or by the other characters - and the worlds we encounter are laced with dangers as well as... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Kate
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