Customer Reviews


9 Reviews
5 star:
 (4)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Requires some humanistic reflection
Ever since stumbling upon Eric Brown's The Fall of Tartarus, I was wowed by his humanistic writing and ability to draw the reader into the characters' lives. It was a very engaging read, as was his other novel that I've read, Engineman. Again, powerful humanistic writing with a liberal dashing of technology and futurism. In Guardians, the reader isn't met with...
Published on 11 Oct 2011 by 2theD

versus
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the authors best
To be honest, after Engineman I was sort of expecting something pretty special with this, the latest title by Eric Brown, but alas I was left wondering if I was reading the same author. The story was pretty hodgepodge, the character plain and unremarkable and to be honest predictable which made it as dull as dish water. Overall I really was put off this author quite a...
Published on 10 Dec 2010 by Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog


Most Helpful First | Newest First

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Requires some humanistic reflection, 11 Oct 2011
By 
2theD "2theD" (The Big Mango, Thailand) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Guardians of the Phoenix (Paperback)
Ever since stumbling upon Eric Brown's The Fall of Tartarus, I was wowed by his humanistic writing and ability to draw the reader into the characters' lives. It was a very engaging read, as was his other novel that I've read, Engineman. Again, powerful humanistic writing with a liberal dashing of technology and futurism. In Guardians, the reader isn't met with technological wonders, rather the world is besought by advancing desertification, extreme temperatures and a shortage of water, sustenance and habitation.

The year 2011: economic collapse
The year 2060: environmental and social collapse
The year 2120: cannibalism

Young Paul of Paris (one of only two inhabitants to remain from the failed colony) survives on lizard stew and water from an old pump station. When he spies a young woman running through the streets, he is instantly weary of the bandits who follow. Tracking their location, Paul later sees the girl missing and a torso being roasted upon the fire, bellies being stuffed. Paul's suspicions were correct; these are heartless cannibals. When the posse discuss a secret underground cache of goods in Paris, Paul attempts to snatch the plans but is captured. Another colony from Copenhagen descend upon Paris to find and bring justice to the kidnapper Hans, one of the posse. They save Paul from certain death... and there begins our story.

The explorers from Copenhagen are on a trek to the northern Spanish coast to drill for water in the dried-up ocean bed. At the same time, Hans meets up with his former colony in Aubenas, France. With detailed plans of a old space port with bountiful provision in hand, the colony creates a team officially head by the powerful female Samara, but unofficially, Hans plays a strong hand in the dealing with the other males in the group.

The descriptions of the deserted European landmass doesn't tire nor do the descriptions of what life before the collapse was like. The passages are full of post-apocalyptic discovery, old-world rediscovery and, as with other Eric Brown novels, human discovery: the heartless matriarch witness an even more heartless man, changing her outlook... the loss of patriarch family spurns his trust in others and spurs his taste for revenge. Death certainly plays a prominent role in the characterization of the small cast, who are all but a portion of the estimated thousands of humans remaining alive on the face of the planet earth.

Beyond the bleak landscape and dour mood of the withering cast, Eric Brown doesn't disappoint with elegant passages and a vocabulary to keep you smiling: sybaritic and scintilla are two words you don't come across very often in fiction. Granted, some of the dialogue is a bit far-fetched and the scenario for the ending is a long-shot but if you massage the history of the years between 2060 and 2120 enough, some far-fetched things could certainly spring up. It may also be a bit too lusty as times, but it fits in the frame of characterization and plays an important role in the plot twists.

If reflective reading and human challenges are your forte in science fiction, rather than the blunt force trauma of hard science fiction, then Eric Brown is definitely your author to read. But... humanistic science fiction isn't for some.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the authors best, 10 Dec 2010
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Guardians of the Phoenix (Paperback)
To be honest, after Engineman I was sort of expecting something pretty special with this, the latest title by Eric Brown, but alas I was left wondering if I was reading the same author. The story was pretty hodgepodge, the character plain and unremarkable and to be honest predictable which made it as dull as dish water. Overall I really was put off this author quite a bit with this offering but considering the reputation that he's carefully built over a few years I was surprised that this actually made it to print. Personally I'd have been happier had they left this one out or allowed a lot more time for the author to correct the many glaring errors within.

If you want to try Eric go for Engineman or perhaps wait for his next offering, the whisper in the wind is that Kings of Eternity is perhaps his best work to date. We'll have to wait and see but I'm prepared to forgive this title if he provides something exceptional on his next outing.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 18 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Once again-what can I say? this is a really engrossing story which grabbed me from the start-and as usual, Eric Brown's skillful writing has made me feel like I am part of this big adventure-you can practically feel the heat from the sun through the pages as you travel along with our intrepid heroes-I adore this and have read it several times. Maybe many would say 'blimey-you need to get a life' but I have one! Journeying through space and time (and sand-filled wastelands) with Mr Brown. Suits me fine.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Another great read from Mr. Brown!, 16 Jan 2012
By 
FAMOUS NAME (UNITED KINGDOM) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This is the third book I have read by this great Sci-Fi writer. I don't normally follow any particular authors, and while at first I was disappointed to notice a distinct emphasis on bad language and graphic detail that I found absent in his previous novels I had read, it seems that Eric Brown cannot write rubbish.

This novel may be a little slow in getting going (compared to the previous two novels I have read - 'Helix' and 'Engineman' - see my reviews for those titles) but get to chapter six, and it gets really exciting as Paul gets captured and the pace of subsequent events increases.

What I love about Mr. Brown, is that he always includes some kind of 'special' relationship in with some of his characters - an aspect often lacking or neglected in this particular genre by other writers. Here it is the relationship between Paul and Elise - an elderly woman who sort of 'brings him up'.

This story is set in the future of course, but unlike the two previous books I have read by Eric, this is not set on another planet - but a future world on earth where most countries have become desert-like.

There's lots of excitement with the same standard one has come to expect from this exceptional writer - and the tempo of this excitement is increased dramatically towards the last hundred or so pages.

Highly recommended to all Sci-Fi readers!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Another great read from Mr. Brown!, 16 Jan 2012
By 
FAMOUS NAME (UNITED KINGDOM) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Guardians of the Phoenix (Paperback)
This is the third book I have read by this great Sci-Fi writer. I don't normally follow any particular authors, and while at first I was disappointed to notice a distinct emphasis on bad language and graphic detail that I found absent in his previous novels I had read, it seems that Eric Brown cannot write rubbish.

This novel may be a little slow in getting going (compared to the previous two novels I have read - 'Helix' and 'Engineman' - see my reviews for those titles) but get to chapter six, and it gets really exciting as Paul gets captured and the pace of subsequent events increases.

What I love about Mr. Brown, is that he always includes some kind of 'special' relationship in with some of his characters - an aspect often lacking or neglected in this particular genre by other writers. Here it is the relationship between Paul and Elise - an elderly woman who sort of 'brings him up'.

This story is set in the future of course, but unlike the two previous books I have read by Eric, this is not set on another planet - but a future world on earth where most countries have become desert-like.

There's lots of excitement with the same standard one has come to expect from this exceptional writer - and the tempo of this excitement is increased dramatically towards the last hundred or so pages.

Highly recommended to all Sci-Fi readers!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Good read but very dark in some places, 23 Sep 2011
By 
Fiona "Avid reader/listener of sci-fi. Enjoyi... (Hove, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Not one to read while you are eating! Has some very dark scenes but the atmosphere was good and the characters were all believable enough. A decent bit of near future apocalyptic fiction/sci fi for a decent price. Not quite sure it deserves a full 4 stars, more like 3 and a half but giving if 4 for the price.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Space Opera, 13 Jan 2011
By 
cybermage.se (USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Guardians of the Phoenix (Paperback)
I should start to state I am a fan of Eric Brown. The Guardians of the Phoinix is his latest work and I was very excited when I started to read this post apocalyptic coming of age slash road movie story.

Paul the young protagonist is living alone with an old lady in the ruins of Paris when we meet him the first time. He gets captured by cannibals and is rescued by another group searching for a means of survival. Both groups are looking for a rumored cache of food and survival gear in the town.

The story has a bit of simplicity to it and the characters are less developed than in Eric's Bengali Station Trilogy but on the other hand I felt that emphasized the survivalist feel of the book. The humanity that survived in this desert of a world where the seas has dried up and humanity is on the brink of extinction might not be so three dimensional. But there is a core of optimism in all the gloom as indicated by the title.

The Big Breakdown is never explained in detail but its aftermath involved nuclear and biological attacks. The seas have dried up and deserts cover most of earth's surfaces that much we know. Small colonies of humans survive across Europe. It feels foreboding to read about those small, small enclaves making meager living where millions of people live today.

The group Paul joins with is on the track of a way to save the peoples in the colony they left behind in Copenhagen. And they have more than the rumored cache. Unfortunately for them so has the surviving cannibals and the story continues with a race to reach salvation first. But salvation is never as easy as it seems.

The book made me uncomfortable at times especially when he presented characters that were forced to cannibalism to survive as relatively sympathetic individuals. Some of the violence is also on the rough side. I wonder if this started out as a YA because sometimes the sex feels a bit out of place too.

I read and enjoyed Guardians of the Phoenix as a post apocalyptic space opera but know that Eric Brown can write much better than this. Another fifty pages would not have hurt the book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The End of the World, Now With Added Obvious, 6 Jan 2011
This review is from: Guardians of the Phoenix (Paperback)
The end of the world again, is it?

Well, at least this time it's not grey.

Saying veteran sci-fi author and erstwhile genre reviewer for The Guardian Eric Brown is prolific just doesn't do the gentleman in question justice. At times, he seems a production house unto himself. Only a few months ago, Solaris reissued a decade-old novel of his, Engineman, in a sumptuous new edition complete with extensive revisions, a lovely new cover and a handful of related short stories. Engineman was this here reader's first experience of Eric Brown's fiction, and if it didn't quite - hyperbole ahoy! - blow me away, I had a great time with it all the same.

With Engineman behind us, there's Kings of Eternity to look forward to come the new year: a epic narrative about some kids who stumble upon a portal to outer space Brown himself describes as "probably the best thing I've done." In the same interview, in fact - over at Mark Chitty's rather fabulous Walker of Worlds - you get the distinct sense Brown is talking up Kings of Eternity in lieu of pimping his next novel proper.

Now you often hear of authors loving their latest babies above all their other literary children, so I wasn't overly concerned that Brown seemed to be giving Guardians of the Phoenix the cold shoulder. And whatever the collective exhaustion at the prospect of such stories, I have a special place in my heart for shindigs set after the apocalypse, which this very much is: a story of a young man eking out an existence in a city of sand who comes across the very best - and the very worst - of humanity in the shape of two bands of survivors come to town.

Sadly, Guardians of the Phoenix is a bit of a mess. It's obvious. It's dull. It's predictable. It's borderline offensive, come to that, with an anti-hero who'll drop her tattered combats at the mere thought of another obscene sex scene and some bad dudes who you know are properly bad because they threaten our hero - such as he is - with homosexual intercourse! Guardians of the Phoenix is a by-the-numbers exercise in a genre so run-to-ground as to demand originality from those who attempt to work within its bounds, and that vital spark just isn't here. There's not an original nor even an interesting character in sight.

It has its moments, of course. When Brown gets his sci-fi on his footing is far surer; when he relates the details of humanity's last, best (not to mention cruelly thwarted) hope - a null-space escape ship the best and brightest built to get away from Earth while the getting was still good - Guardians of the Phoenix threatens to rise like its namesake from the ashes that are the narrative's dreary larger part. Unfortunately, even then, Brown's latest never quite catches a drift, and that the closest thing to a redeeming feature in a post-apocalypse novel such as this is a sprinkling of sci-fi come the endgame speaks volumes as to its overall worthiness.

Which is to say its dire lack in that regard...

You know, Guardians of the Phoenix isn't an awful novel by any stretch, but oddly, it reeks at times of amateurishness, and here I'd thought Eric Brown as professional as pros got.

What can I say? I'm disappointed.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tale of life decades after the fall of humankind that feels all too real, 27 Feb 2011
By 
Tim C. Taylor (Bromham, England) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've previously read Eric's shorter work but never a novel so I took a chance on Guardians and was well rewarded.

The high points for me were the characterisation and the description of the settlements. Both of these subtly showed us how life might be for the survivors decades after the catastrophe that wipes out civilisation as we know it.

A few months ago I read and enjoyed Stephen Baxter's Flood, which tells a story with superficial similarities to Eric's Guardians. They are very different novels, though. Stephen Baxter shows us the catastrophe (flooding) taking place blow-by-blow over a global and multi-decade scale. In places Stephen Baxter's story reminded me a little of his much earlier Ring, because the characters occasionally act in ways contrived to give the reader a viewpoint to observe interesting aspects of the catastrophe (Baxter's forgiven because the events in these novels are so compelling). In Guardians Eric Brown takes a different approach by having his characters act true to (a very different) life, and leave us to draw conclusions from the way they behave.

Whereas Flood starts with today's world and show it shrinking inexorably to a zero point, Guardians shows us a world already shrunk. The scale of human society and the range of options available to the survivors feels tiny to us. There is a feeling of claustrophobia, almost of incarceration within a doomed future. The characters reflect this too. Most were born after the catastrophe. The human population is perhaps a millionth of the present day. That ferocious winnowing of the population would leave survivors that I would not like to meet on a dark night. If anything, I suspect Eric Brown has made his characters more moderate than they would be in a real example of near-extinction evolution, and that is probably necessary to make it easier for us to identify with them.

Recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Guardians of the Phoenix
Guardians of the Phoenix by Eric Brown (Paperback - 16 Dec 2010)
£6.11
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews