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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Seeds of excellence, some on barren ground
Right. This book and indeed the series has received some pretty mixed reviews, I come down on the positive side of the fence. I bought and read all three in sequence because the plot was such that I wanted to know what happened next - it kept my interest throughout. My review will cover aspects of all three.
Characters are on the whole good. I especially enjoyed the...
Published on 10 Mar. 2012 by danmightbe

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Readable
Renowned for his Shadowkings trilogy, its with a completely different tale that he now returns to the fold with this strange blend of sci-fi along with space opera with a touch of star wars built in. Mankind faces extermination from an alien species whose insectoid tendancies focus with their hive mind on the single goal. Interesting in concept, creative in scale...
Published on 12 April 2009 by Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog

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3.0 out of 5 stars Book 1: Almost too much to absorb, 11 Oct. 2011
2theD "2theD" (The Big Mango, Thailand) - See all my reviews
This is my first Michael Cobley novel as I'm sure it's the first of many who choose to begin this trilogy of Humanity's Fire. Like other trilogies (Cosmonaut Keep (The Engines of Light, Book 1) to name one) or quadrilogies (Lords of the Middle Dark (Rings of the Master, Book 1) to name another) I've completed, Seeds of Earth has the same problem of getting the plot off the launchpad when weighed down with a load of new characters, a shipment of proper nouns and crates full of exotic aliens, planets, flora, fauna, honorific titles... I could go on. It's one of those books which is difficult to find a toehold. It's also one of those books which lends itself to be read in one week in order for the reader to fully understand the setting Cobley has just placed.

The 9-page prologue of Seeds of Earth takes place on Mars when the Solar System is under attack by the Achorga Swarm. Plans have been made to launch fifteen arks to save humanity in case the Swarm prevails. The Swarm has been virulently persistent to only allow humanity to construct and launch three arks. Chapter One opens 150-years after the ark Hyperion has made landfall on the planet Darien. The mix of Scots, Scandinavians and Russians settle the hospitable planet and befriend a race of intelligent bipeds who inhabit the breathable atmosphere of moon.

Living in ignorance about the fate of the earth and the two other arks, the tiny outpost somewhat flourishes. Politics plays a big role in Book One, but not to the extent of what MacLeod includes in his novels (but you can bet they both emphasis the Scottish accent!). I'm not sure why a small outpost needs eight-story building with elevators. I ask the question: Did they strip the ark of the elevator of did they manufacture it? And if they stripped the ark, why did they put the elevator in something as unimportant as an apartment building? Much of the description of the infrastructure of the colony seems unrealistic for only be in operation for 150 years. The citizens also travel by dirigible. I'm getting sick of dirigibles.

Lemme see... only two of the cast have idiosyncrasies enough to be sympathetic with:
There's Kao Chih who's on a long, long journey from his domain (no plot spoiler here) and keeps running into difficulties including a menacing human, menacing pirates and menacing droids. Seems like deep space is a scary place to traverse... honest enough Kao Chih just keeps going in honor of his ancestors. However, one niggling detail remained: when the craft left its main port, it had six days of food for the two crew members. Later, it's quoted as having enough food for three months and nine days at quarter rations for one person. I can't massage those numbers!
Then there's Earthspace ambassador who carries around a virtual simulation of his dead daughter and plays chess with her, even when there's company around. Sounds kind of a disappointment to the government of Earth.

The writing style isn't as grandiose as Banks or as techy as Hamilton... it lays somewhere in between, but I much prefer the lengthy prose of Banks above all others. That said, Seeds of Earth doesn't have loquacious paragraphs like much of modern British Space Opera uses. The vocabulary isn't as challenging as Revelation Space or The Algebraist, but still maintains a certain sophistication. One more niggling point was the 3-time use of the word "concertaed" when describing the operation of a door (which fondly reminds me of Delanay's "the door dilated").

It's definitely NOT bad. It's just unfortunate the the trilogy has to start somewhere! Judging from the conclusion of Book One, I predict that books two and three will be at least 4-star reads. I've already bought Book Two and I've pre-ordered Book Three. How's that for eager!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic space opera!, 30 Jan. 2010
Mr. T. P. Booker (Stockport, Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
I feel compelled to write a review for this book; I'm nearing the end and I've thoroughly enjoyed it.

I've noticed a couple of fairly negative comments including one referred to Kevin J Anderson as a negative which stumps me - Kevin J Anderson is a fantastic author. Seeds of Earth is a "space opera" novel; this means it is more akin with an action adventure story such as star wars than something nitty gritty from the likes of say Stephen Baxter. If you want realism in space then this is the wrong novel, so don't buy it and don't leave a negative review.

If, like me, you love strange alien species, complicated yet easy to understand twisting plot lines and of course fantastic battles both on land and in space then this book is quite simply perfect for you. This book is very much akin to Kevin J Anderson's "Saga of the Seven Suns" but with a more Steampunk/Star Trek'ian feel to it. There is a great emphasis on politices, but not so much to bore you. Cobley has created a rich and inviting universe which has a hell of a lot of history and a near infinate amount of resources for future storylines.

The writing itself is easy to read, quick and very entertaining. I particularly enjoyed the colloquial use of the Scottish dialect. The hero's are typical and easy to love, the aliens are weird and numerous, the enemy is sufficiently evil and overpowering and the good guys are as all emcompassing and virtuous as you could hope for. It is also topical in some respects.

All in all this is a perfect example of a space opera.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Seeds of Earth: Good Story But Not The Easiest Read, 12 April 2014
This review is from: Seeds Of Earth: Book One of Humanity's Fire (Kindle Edition)
This was my first Michael Cobley novel and I have mixed thoughts about it. The premise of the novel is very good. The balance between what I’ll call the local politics of the planet on which the story is set and the wider galactic manoeuvrings converging on that planet is very successfully achieved by Mr Cobley. However, his style of writing left me frustrated. Each chapter in the book is centred around a character but I found the continuity between each related chapter to be jumpy at best with gaps between where one chapter left off and another started.

This is a four-book series, so far at least. I’m not feeling any great compulsion to purchase the next one – not yet, anyhow.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A promising start, 6 April 2009
D. P. Mankin (Ceredigion, Wales) - See all my reviews
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I'm not sure where the other reviewer is coming from when stating that space opera should be 'slow burn'. What I really like about this novel is that it is reminiscent of 'golden age' novels and is also considerably shorter and more interesting than say Peter Hamilton's novels (now those are slow burn/padded and so disappointing in execution) or Stephen Baxter (incapable of building any tension or suspense). Mutiple characters rather than a single 'hero' gives Seeds of Earth a more realistic feel although characterisation could be stronger (hence 4 not 5 stars). But if you like a good old fashioned story-telling then this does deliver. No cyber punk is always a plus for me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars good read, 20 July 2012
Not an expert on sci-fi, but I know what I like,

I've brought quite a few books over the past month or so where people recommend so highly the books, that quite frankly I can't see where they get such a high rating as they so boring and can't read them at all, where books such poor ratings people don't buy,

I think this is one of these books,

Yes it does feature a lot of politics, and maybe it's not as adventurous blood curdling enough for people, but it's definitely like the title says it plants seeds in your head and you start imagining how the whole universe is evolving and you start to see it opening up,

Fascinating read to me
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable read, 8 May 2013
This review is from: Seeds Of Earth: Book One of Humanity's Fire (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed this book :) It was very entertaining and had many different plots and characters to keep you interested. The initial themes and races are introduced and given a general background, although i do wish there had been more descriptions about what each alien race looked like!! Some sounded so interesting.
I like that this book has many different species and cultures including AI's and many different perspectives of the Galaxy. The book reads well and there are comedy moments mixed into the storyline which was a nice touch.
A good science fiction story
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and engrossing!, 10 Nov. 2011
An excellently entertaining read, and I'm looking forward to the next volumes.

It had been a few years since I'd read any SF - it had all become a little ho-humish to me. I'm glad to say that this book has tickled my palate for it again. Initially I was dipping into it a few pages here and there snatched through the day as I normally do with most books, but then noticed I was clearing larger gaps. I was hooked! Eventually I just gave in and settled down to read it properly, as it deserves.

I loved the way the book was structured in a very filmic way, focusing on each main character in turn and so revealing the story from different angles. That also allowed the author to subtly build a new universe around you without smacking you around the head with too many explanations and diversions.

The balance between pace and description is well judged to keep you turning the pages, but most of all, most of all I enjoyed this book because the characters were so believeable, so realistic.

And yes, I'm off to buy the rest of the books now! :)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Lumpy but likeable, 1 Aug. 2009
Robert (Uxbridge, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
I really enjoyed this book. It had a bit of all the things I like. There were the abtagonistic space empires of Iain Banks, the varied aliens that read like David Brin and a decent story of good and evil from Babylon 5. The lumpy comment is because I found the Scottish dialogue did not scan for me. "Frea" instead of "fae". A little thing, but it jarred the flow. However the story was good fun, and there are a ton of ideas in this book that could have been full stories on their own.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An enveloping read, 18 Dec. 2013
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I really enjoyed this series; the story stays strong throughout, and the descriptiveness is excellent. The author does a first rate job of painting a fantastic universe of many levels. While It's obvious from other reviews that it's not for everyone, it was exactly what I was seeking.

Solid characters, wonderful worlds, gripping page turners - what's not to love, and who doesn't wish they lived on Nyviesta?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars read it, but I wont bother with vol 2, 20 May 2013
Well I read it from cover to cover -- just -- I was hoping that it would get better but it did not!!
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