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4.5 out of 5 stars24
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VINE VOICEon 5 November 2013
To me, Gary Gibson and Neal Asher are the business at the kind of sci-fi I love to immerse myself within.

This novel, set in the future of the Shoal trilogy universe, reminds me a little of the way Peter F Hamilton also returned to his Commonwealth universe with a new story that gathered in the strands of his previous work. It isn't by any means a filler or add-on to a completed story arc, as it's a perfectly readable book in its own right. I would recommend, however, that you come into the Shoal universe at the beginning Stealing Light (Shoal Sequence) if you are new to Gary's work and worlds then work your way up to this excellent story as it will make it all the more enjoyable.

Five stars from me for a thoroughly excellent read.
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on 2 May 2015
Marauder is the latest installment in the Shoal Sequence. Set over 200 years after the original trilogy, it revisits well-known places (Redstone), concepts (the Makers, Nova drives, etc.) and characters, after a fashion (with a twist I won't mention here to avoid spoilers). The Shoal are gone and the Accord has filled in the void it left behind. On Redstone, Uchidan has won over the Freehold. All this provides the setting for an interesting book, albeit a somewhat predictable one.

The characters' motivations are clear and the story proceeds at a good pace throughout the book. Readers of the previous books will be able to foresee some of what is about to go on, which may have depleted some of the impact expected for some passages. On the other hand, I'm not sure to what extent will someone that hasn't read the other books enjoy this one. Most of my motivation to read the book was to see what had happened since Empire of Light and to "revisit the familiar". I fear the lack of referents may hinder the enjoyment of newcomers to the Shoal Sequence.

The book leaves open the door for a new installment in the sequence that I would very much like to read. As foreshadowed, it could be a good story full of new exciting concepts. As for Marauder, it was a nice book I'd recommend to readers of the original trilogy but perhaps not to those that haven't yet read it.
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on 25 September 2013
I've really enjoyed all of Gary Gibson's books, and the Shoal Trilogy were my introduction to his writing.

Marauder is undoubtedly a good book, and it races along towards its conclusion. For those who have read his previous books, this is almost an epilogue to them. The one thing that lets it down is that several of the supposedly shocking plot developments are rather obvious from quite early on - not to spoil anything, but Megan's previous life and her means of escape from Redstone are things that had me thinking 'why doesn't she does do that rather go through all of this?'. Worth reading, and the first of September's onslaught of major SF novels.
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on 10 December 2015
I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. I only read it as part of a book challenge and actually loved it! The book has two main characters Megan and Gabrielle.

Megan is a pilot that can communicate with her ships due to implants in her head. Megan and her friend Bash are asked to communicate with a ship that has been flying around space for thousands of years with no apparent mission. The first attempt leaves Bash effectively brain dead and Megan running for her life. But Megan knows that she will need to find a way back to the ship and learn a way to communicate with it before a bigger threat destroys the entire solar system and everything Megan holds dear.

Gabrielle has been groomed for the huge honour of ascending to the top of her culture. All she has to do is take on the thoughts and personality of another person and lose everything that makes her her. Her story is about her trying to escape from this fate while being betrayed at every step and not knowing who to turn to until she meets Megan.

The whole story is a complex tale of cloning, mass genocide and saving the solar system from a threat it doesnt even see coming. The characters are well rounded and realistic. The science isn't too technical and the story sucked me in completely. I cannot wait to read more by this author.
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on 21 November 2015
Although a sequel can be read standalone, though probably best after the other books in the series, rather than before.

I did find that the heroine did have one or two too many very remarkable close escapes. There's close, closer and getting quite implausible, and there's several of the latter. Think James Bond style "no i expect you to die Mr Bond" implausible escapes one after the other. WOudl be good to see her a bit more in control sometimes.

Having said that, really enjoyed it and hoping there's a sequel in the same story line.
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on 25 October 2013
This is the series that keeps on giving. Am loving the descriptions of space he's created. Full of aliens, space battles and great characters. I hope the Shoal will reappear soon; if there's a better alien than a superior intelligent fish, I've not yet met one.
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on 11 November 2013
this is an exciting and solid chunk of sci fi,great storylines and characters.the marauder is menacing and interesting the main characters carry the plot well even the bad guys are nice and bad.i was impressed with how it all worked so well
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on 21 August 2014
It's OK but doesn't really read as a standalone (despite what it says in the bumpf). A little too much of the fantasy kingdom touch, although the deep space elements were fairly good. A book I could pick up and put down.
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on 9 December 2013
Exciting and with a protagonist one cares about, this is probably the best of the Shoal series. I really don't have more to say about it, but did want to add stars to the book as it is worth recommending.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 September 2013
Gary Gibson is fast becoming one of my favourite authors, let alone favourite science fiction authors. He has the considerable, not-to-be-underestimated talent of bringing lightness and accessibility to hard science fiction. While I will always enjoy a good SF bookbrick, there is something to be said for a SF novel that you can hold in one hand without it having lost any of the wonder and vision and clever depth of novels often twice the size. Marauder is a novel that I have been waiting months for, the pressure of the wait intensified greatly by reading The Thousand Emperors (Final Days 2) this summer. The joy of finally having Marauder in my hands to read was heightened by the gorgeous glow of the cover. It's a goodlooking book and the insides are just as appetising.

Marauder is set within the universe of the Shoal Trilogy and yet it is also a standalone novel. Earlier this year I read the first of the trilogy, Stealing Light, because I wanted to be well-acquainted with the universe, its beings, planets and terms, before reading Marauder. There is mention of the people and events of Stealing Light in Marauder, as well as reference to the other two novels in the trilogy, but you could quite happily read Marauder without any knowledge at all of the earlier books. Mind you, I'll be back to finish the trilogy.

One of the strengths of Gary Gibson's writing is his characters - a mix of strength and vulnerability, and they're satisfyingly complex. The principal characters are often on their own journey to self-knowledge and so it's not surprising that they surprise us just as much as they astonish themselves. In Marauder we have two fascinating and contrasting female figures - Megan, an experienced, assured machine head, who knows what she wants, what she has to do, and nothing can stand in her way; and Gabrielle, young, relatively innocent and used and ready to fight back. Manipulating them both, to varying degrees of success, is an array of men on both sides of a bitter struggle to keep their planet dominant. FTL (faster than light) technology is what everyone wants, no matter its risks, and to keep it or win it is the biggest prize of all in this universe. But far away, hiding within a distant star system, is the Wanderer or Marauder. Our characters are drawn to it. But what does it want?

The very human stories of Megan and Gabrielle, as well as Bash (Megan's friend), contrast fiercely and poignantly with the ambitions of those who would use them. Life is cheap and squandered while to Gabrielle in particular it is sacred. What Bash endures for much of the novel is heartrending and shows Megan and Gabrielle in a light that is at odds with the inhumanity that they must fight against. It's very difficult not to feel involved with these wonderful characters. The baddies, though, are always interesting, not least because they can never be as powerful as they would like to be.

Marauder is full of wonders - the ships and worlds, the mix of human and artificial intelligence, the unknowable monster that is the Marauder and the wider context of the FTL drives and the battle for their control that has scarred the galaxy for millennia. History here is being made. The novel is also full of twists and turns, providing a welcome continuation of the original Shoal trilogy while striking free into new territory.

Marauder is great science fiction but it is also an absorbing thriller, intricately plotted and wonderfully imagined. For me, this is the perfect mix and yet again I find myself hanging on to every word Gary Gibson writes.
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