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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 9 December 2012
Better than Final Days, not improvement in characters, but in balance between investigative and action parts. Previous book had focus on more in action parts.

Things that tickled my imagination in Final Days was the Founder Network and i was curious the know more of them, which i did, but not enough, so please Mr. Gibson, i need one or more book heavy on Founders stuff. I got sucked in the plot, kept me guessing almost to end, just right amount of twist and turns.

World building was good and keeping mind that this is only 350 or so pages, that's something, you don't necessary need 1000 + pages like Peter F. Hamilton and hundreds of characters to make it work, though Hamilton is still master at epic-sci-fi.

Style of writing in sci-fi tends to be sometimes heavy on technobabble side and all those fancy future stuff overshadow story and characters, for example like in The Quantum Thief, not in Gibson writing, you get your tech stuff, but they serve the story.

There are some loose ends, like Inimicals and once again Founder Network get's only teasing, come on! I need my Founder trilogy or something! All the Lovecraftian glimpses of ancient aliens got me going so there is no excuse to not to tell more. Fine book, and i really need to read Shoal trilogy
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 12 September 2013
Final Days (Final Days 1) is one of my favourite SF novels, so much of a favourite is it that I was strangely deterred from reading its successor, The Thousand Emperors. I had no need to fear. Gary Gibson is a writer of the highest order and The Thousand Emperors didn't just match Final Days, it exceeded it. Strengthening the appeal of them both is that each can be read as stand alone novels and have little to do with one another beyond their links to the hugely intriguing Founders Network. I would recommend you read Final Days first, though, simply because it is marvellous (this review refers to events in Final Days).

The Thousand Emperors is set a few centuries after the events of Final Days. Earth is now dead and humanity's survivors are scattered across the Galaxy on planets once connected by a network of wormholes but now split into two civilisations, the Coalition and Tian Di, where the novel is mostly set. The Tian Di empire broke free of the Coalition and severed all connecting wormholes, choosing to be ruled by a council of a thousand - the thousand emperors of the title. In truth, power rests on the the shoulders of far fewer near immortal individuals, the Temur Council of 85, led by Father Cheng. These are interesting times. Reunification with the Coalition is at last a real possibility, a connecting wormhole is being prepared. However, after centuries of indolence, the Tian Di is ripe for revolt again, but this time from within.

The rebellious force Black Lotus picks for its weapon Luc Gabion, an archivist who is seized by the leading rebel who inserts into his brain some kind of advanced technology which gives him the power to see visions and hear things he shouldn't. It also carries with it a death sentence. When one of the leading members of the council is murdered, Gabion is picked to investigate and from that moment forth he begins a breakneck ride that is impossible for him to stop.

A series of conspiracies are gradually unravelled before us. The twists and turns are truly breathtaking. There are moments of utter shock and revelation. It is without doubt one of the most exciting novels I have read for a long time. I read it while on a camping trip and when I wasn't able to read it I was thinking about it. This isn't just because of the plot, which is fabulous, but because of the grand ideas and the characters involved.

Luc Gabion is fully realised - in his pain, confusion and dedication and heart. Beside him there is the intriguing Zelia de Almeida, the councillor responsible for Tian Di security who is so intent on having Gabion investigate the murder. This woman has lived for centuries and, like the other council members, to say there are secrets and false agendas at play would be putting it very mildly indeed. Things are complicated, lethally so. Gabion's predicament is as dangerous as it can be, quite apart from the device in his head that kills him a little more each day. Cheng, the Coalition ambassador, members of Black Lotus, they are all fascinating. The evil when it is located is clearly enough to destroy everything, even perhaps unintentionally.

In the background is the Founders Network. Although it is believed sealed off after the apocalypse of Final Days, we are here given tantalising snippets of information about it and what might be hidden inside it. The horrendous events of Final Days inevitably still exert influence and dread.

There are moments of wonder, not least these glimpses into the Network, but also seen in the descriptions of the planets, their architecture and landscapes. A great journey across space is described and I won't forget it. There is horror. There are societies and powers that evoke the horror of Stalin and Hitler. There is the most riveting, pageturning action. While The Thousand Emperors is on one hand an intriguing and satisfying detective story, on the other it is a belter of a science fiction action adventure.

I can't praise Gary Gibson's writing and storytelling enough. He makes science fiction accessible while not removing any of the science, vision and scope of the genre. I knew The Thousand Emperors would be good but I was blown away by it. This is my favourite science fiction read of 2013 so far although, as Gary's next novel Marauder is published in September, it faces imminent competition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 October 2012
Once again, Gibson delivers some very high-quality science fiction.

This novel is set in the same "Final Days" universe as Gibson's previous novel, but is entirely self-contained. It's essentially a detective story set several centuries from now, where the protagonist, Luc Gabion, gets involved in a web of intrigue in the upper echelons of his civilisation, the "Tian Di" as it prepares to reunite with the Posthuman Coalition after decades of isolation- brought about by the severing of the wormhole connections between the two.

The plot is constantly engaging and gripping, building up to a satisfying conclusion. Each of the characters is well-drawn and believable. Apart from the protagonist, they aren't all that likeable, but nevertheless I enjoyed their web of politics and in-fighting.

The only problem (and it is a minor one) was the subplot revolving around the spy Jacob Moreland, who inflitrates the Coalition on behalf of the Tian Di. His story was the only part of the novel that didn't follow Luc's investigation, and it didn't really go anywhere in the end, despite a bit of buildup.

Apart from that though, a very good scifi novel, and highly recommended for any Gibson fans, as well as any other fans of science fiction.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 October 2014
Gary Gibson novels have imagination and pace, but sadly fall short on actual writing skill. The grammar is suspect, characters are ill-defined and shallow and lack the individual phraseology I'd expect from a top novelist; the limited prose is simplistic and jarringly repetitive. The plot has holes you could drive a bus through that are crudely papered over with phrases such as "by an amazing coincidence..." and "as luck would have it...", etc.

His style reminds me a lot of Dan Brown; but then Dan Brown has done all right for himself so who is to say Gary Gibson won't do well? Only time will tell.
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on 10 February 2015
Preferred the Shoal series.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 June 2013
I really enjoyed reading this story. It is a good follow on to Final Days. Lots of opportunities for further stories.
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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 27 June 2012
I like Gibson's crisp writing and his engaging storytelling,reminding you of the best Asimov,Vance and Silverberg's. I doesn'need a doorstopper trilogy to tell a good story! Loved it, expecially the way Gibson utilzes the latest exoplanet discoveries (first time I read of "hot jupiters"in a SF novel).
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1 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 3 August 2012
as far as i am concerned gary gibson can do no wrong.he spins an engaging yarn.i eagerly await his next book.i liked this one very much.
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