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The Gap Series (1) - The Real Story [Paperback]

Stephen Donaldson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 Aug 1999 The Gap Series (Book 1)

A new-cover reissue of the first book in the bestselling five-volume sf series created by the world-famous author of the Thomas Covenant chronicles – and acclaimed as the ‘best work of his career’.

Crossing the Gap – faster-than-light travel – has become commonplace throughout explored space, and all of it is controlled by a single monolithic corporation, the United Mining Companies. At the farthest reaches of the UMC’s fiefdoms The Real Story unfolds.

The story starts small, with a simple case of ore piracy, and focuses on three individuals: Angus Thermopyle, a pirate and murderer who will stop at nothing for personal gain; Morn Hyland, a brilliant young policewoman who has committed a horrifying act and who falls prey to Thermopyle; and Nick Succorso, a legendary star captain who may be the key to Morn’s salvation… or her worst nightmare.

But The Real Story is not that simple. Through the lives of Angus, Morn and Nick, an entire world begins to unfold – a world of politics and betrayal, extraordinary developments, and a shadowy alien presence that lies on the other side of the Gap.

Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Voyager; (Reissue) edition (2 Aug 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000647019X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006470199
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 11 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 752,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen Donaldson lived in India for 13 years with his father, a medical missionary, who worked extensively with lepers; it was here that he conceived the character of Thomas Covenant.
He was awarded the John W. Campbell Award as Best Writer of the Year for The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant The Unbeliever, which, with the sequel trilogy, became instant bestsellers.
He is also the author of the fantasy duology 'Mordant's Need', the SF epic quintet 'The Gap', and a number of mysteries written under the pseudonym Reed Stephens. He won the World Fantasy Award in 2000.

Product Description


‘The Gap series is the best work of his career. Donaldson displays a real and rare gift for depicting intrigue, deception, betrayal and the dynamics of the multiple double-cross, and the dizzyingly complex backstabbing arabesques of his cast of resourcefully vicious interstellar slimeballs make this series as funky, grungy and down-and-dirty as space-op ever gets. This sequence has me hanging by my thumbs waiting for the next instalment.’
Time Out

Book Description

A powerful and intense sf tale from a master storyteller --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awful... ly good 7 Oct 2004
By bwowser
This is the worst brilliant book I have ever read. As a standalone novel it is sharply disappointing, rough, violent and distasteful. It intrigues and questions, but provides cold, dark, violent and disturbing resolutions.
This book should carry a warning label for adults.
Never the less, as the first book in a series of five, I must strongly recommend this book to others.
Everyone I know who has read this book struggles initially - but for the perceptive, persevering reader who continues with the set, a work of genius is revealed.
I have read reviews that slam this work. I can understand them, had I not continued on with the series I may have even sympathised with them. But anyone who thinks this book is gratuitous, un-imaginative or shallow are SERIOUSLY mistaken.
Read this book. Be disturbed. Be outraged. Be offended. Be persistent.
Read the rest of the series and be amazed. Be awed. Be rewarded.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stick with it - the rest are worth the wait! 28 Feb 2001
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Please don't be put off by the fact that this book is short, extremely dark and ultimately just the preview of what is to come.
It's a necessary step towards one of the best science fiction series that I've read. 'The Real Story' opens the curtain to a dangerous, dark world of the future and one woman's harrowing journey through it. If you've read the Thomas Covenant books then you'll know Donaldon's penchant for awkward, unloveable characters. This series is no different and though the first two books are more background than anything else, the momentum that they provide (used to amazing effect in the last three books) is quite something else.
I can't recommend this series highly enough - if I was marking 'The Real Story' as a stand alone novel I'd probably give it three stars. The series itself goes beyond five stars. Awesome.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very dark beginning to an unmissable series 11 May 1999
By A Customer
The Real Story is the first volume of the 'Gap' series which comprises five novels in all. The others are Forbidden Knowledge, A Dark And Hungry God Arises, Chaos And Order and finally This Day All Gods Die. Anyone familiar with Donaldsons previous fantasy series, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, will not be surprised by some of the themes being explored here; guilt, betrayal, loss and the nature of evil. Donaldson is not content to have his characters do things just for the sake of propelling the plot along. Every action by every character has a logical basis whether it's the apparently benificent act of a hero or the evil conniving of a villain. Because of this, the overturning of your preconceptions of exactly who is good and who is bad is a regular occurence through the series. This first tome is, without doubt (and by Donaldsons own admission) the darkest and bleakest of narratives. In what might be seen as a literary exercise the author creates a character, Angus Thermopyle, who is so unremmitingly amoral and cowardly that you cannot help but be repulsed by him. Donaldson then, over the remaining novels, takes the reader on a journey of exploration to see if we can re-write Thermopyle, not as an easily written off cypher for evil, but as a human being, weak and flawed, but understandable and, ultimately, worth saving. I would urge anyone to read the series but bear in mind, the pit that the reader is dropped down in the first volume can only be escaped from by reading the other four...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars read or regret 18 Mar 2008
I honestly have to admit that after the first book I was dubious about reading anymore. I was never a fan of his other books but once this series gets going it is impossible to put them down. The characters are so real that you feel for them( even angus)I have to date read The Gap series approx ten times and everytime I can't put the book down til I have read it from cover to cover and only then to sleep

Like I said for the title of my review if you don't read this series you will regret not giving yourself the chance to be immersed in a drama of staggering proportions

Please would George Lucas or some one make a tv series of this. Done in the style of the new Battlestar Can you imagine
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cheese baps? 22 Sep 2000
It seems that this book has been previously slated by other reviewers...
I believe that Donaldson wrote this book a long time before it was actually published. He wrote it as an intended short story, which explains the lack of description and unfleshing out of characters. He wrote it on the basis of exploring role-changes, and shifting the roles between the three main characters. For example the tormentor, Angus, will later be seen as a victim, where as the hero Nick will later take the role of the termentor as the story unfolds.
Many authors set the plot of their novels and develop characters that interact and fit in. Donaldson on the other hand takes a different approach - he develops the characters first, and the plot works around them. The characterisation is fantastic, giving way to a plethora or attitudes, mood shifts and other intricacies, all of which tie in with the complexities of human nature.
I believe that Donaldson once quoted that he could relate deeply to the character of Angus Thermopile, the tormentor in the story, even though it shocked him to realise this. In a sense I could relate to this bond, and throughout the novels I felt a continued likeness to some of the darker aspects of each character.
I wouldn't recommend anybody to read this book as a one off. It is more of a yarn than a novel and proves to be a light, but fun, read. The full potential of the tale is explored in the following novels in the Gap series, which I found to be an excellent read, more so than the Thomas Covenant chronicles which I've now read twice over - which is an astonishing feat for a lazy bum like me.
Buy this book. Read it. Then move on to book II where the tale really begins... END
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Not what I was expecting.
Having read Thomas Covenant some years ago I was expecting more from this tale. To be honest it was not my cup of tea at all. Too dark .
Published 1 month ago by Sharon Keane
5.0 out of 5 stars Gap for serious readers
Chose the rating because it is one of those books that pop into my mind with no warning, even though I first read it years ago after the early, good, Thomas Covenant books. Read more
Published 3 months ago by S. K. Webb
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Sci Fi
A 'fantastic' feat of imagination! Hosts of characters, well fleshed out, and plenty of action. Difficult to shut the Kindle down!
Published 4 months ago by Michael J. Cushing
5.0 out of 5 stars The Gap Sequence
Not read this yet, just added to my collection for when I go back to sea.
Always been a huge fan of Stephen Donalson's books so this was a "Must have book"
Published 5 months ago by P A Prescott
5.0 out of 5 stars The real story
I've read this series twice before. Anyone who reads Stephen Donaldson books will understand that the complexity of his characters always deserves a second reading. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Fast Eddie
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Sci-Fi
The Gap series is one of the best sci-fi series I have ever read. I have read The Chronicles as well and think they are very good fantasy, but the Gap series is definitely in the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Rick
5.0 out of 5 stars Gap Series
This book was a very good price and was delivered immediately to my Kindle. I am enjoying reading it, as I enjoy all Stephen Donaldson's books.
Published 14 months ago by Mrs. Diane Mitchell
5.0 out of 5 stars First in the set
I bought my husband the complete Gap Series as part of a birthday present, as he's a great fan of the author. He read this series some time ago but never had the full set.
Published 14 months ago by S. M. Howard
5.0 out of 5 stars get into the gap
as with all of his books the story is out of this world.
gripping from the start to the end.
Published 16 months ago by Steve Smith
1.0 out of 5 stars His best work? I don't think so!
I have thoroughly enjoyed all the chronicles of Thomas Covenant and look forward to the final book. I read somewhere that the Gap Sequence was Donaldson's finest work and so was... Read more
Published 17 months ago by D J MILLER
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