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60 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best British Military Sci-Fi That I've Read
Nuttall is a bit of a find I'm glad to say in this sub genre. Sci-fi has a huge range of styles and genres with hundreds of authors - sadly most of them punting out utterly unreadable pap. The military sci-fi seems to be particularly badly affected with the majority of (American) authors punting out risible garbage. I've started many books only to give up in dispair after...
Published 10 months ago by M. G. Chisholm

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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars By far the best self published novel I've read - but really needs a good editor
As the title says, this really is the best self published novel I've ever read - most of those don't even deserve a 1 star review.
It is a good read with a well thought out, gripping storyline but the lack of an editor - or even a really good proofreader - is glaringly obvious at times and keeps throwing me out of the story.

Couple of examples;...
Published 10 months ago by Pb


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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars By far the best self published novel I've read - but really needs a good editor, 11 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Ark Royal (Kindle Edition)
As the title says, this really is the best self published novel I've ever read - most of those don't even deserve a 1 star review.
It is a good read with a well thought out, gripping storyline but the lack of an editor - or even a really good proofreader - is glaringly obvious at times and keeps throwing me out of the story.

Couple of examples;

*POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD*

In one paragraph the author describes the titular Space Carrier Ark Royal as the "oldest" spaceship operated by Humans "anywhere" (in fact this is a major plot point). Just a couple of pages later he describes the carrier passing through a far flung Human colony system whose spaceships were "even older than Ark Royal" (I'm paraphrasing but the point was clear).

At one point we're told there has never been a hint of intelligent alien life elsewhere - that Humanity has concluded it is alone in the galaxy. A few pages later a character casually mentions that there have been fleeting long range sensor contacts with unidentified ships for years.

On another occasion, upon examination of an alien body, we're told the aliens are physically tougher than humans. Later an expert giving a run down on alien features describes them as being weaker.

One character (a senior naval officer) muses to himself that perhaps mass driver weapons, as fitted to the obsolete Ark Royal, are no longer built as the major powers have a secret agreement to limit their use. A few chapters later this theoretical secret agreement is an established fact that everyone knows about. It seems like the author has just realised that the lack of these highly effective weapons on modern ships is a major plot hole and he's scrambling to fill it.

*END SPOILERS*

These are just little things but they're not isolated examples, things like this keep cropping up and it's jarring when they do.

Characters and ships appear, do things, or say things when needed to by the plot, even when their presence or existence or statement contradicts earlier events, plot points or statements.

There is frequent overuse of particular words or phrases - the author badly needs another word for both "aliens" and "humanity"; ships lie "doggo" an awful lot and in every attack someone or something is "rocked back on their heels". Again these aren't the only examples of this.

Finally there is an awful lot of repetition of information (anyone who's read any Harry Turtledove will know what I mean by this). If I hear one more time about how:

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

the Ark Royal's armour and mass drivers make her unique and capable, I'll scream (it's even more annoying when this frequently repeated plot point is contradicted when other armoured and mass driver equipped ships make an appearance when the plot requires them).

The captain is a recovering alcoholic and is afraid one drink will tip him back over the edge... We know! You've told us before!

*END SPOILER*

Again this isn't isolated, certain plot points are absolutely hammered home by repetition, enough so that when it starts to happen I've found myself able to skip entire pages without missing out any plot. Other plot points are so heavily and repeatedly foreshadowed that I've found myself groaning when we come across another "hint" of what's to come and again skipping whole sections.

I'm sorry if this comes across as really negative, it isn't meant to, I'll reiterate that this is by far the best self published novel I've ever read and is well, well worth a read, just be prepared for its idiosyncrasies and be prepared to give the author a little leeway and you'll enjoy it.

Give it a try, there's really nothing to lose. I really hope that the author's deserved success (I hope this has been successful anyway) allows him to employ an editor for the sequels (and if there aren't sequels there should be!)
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60 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best British Military Sci-Fi That I've Read, 27 Jan 2014
By 
M. G. Chisholm "chiefengineer3" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ark Royal (Kindle Edition)
Nuttall is a bit of a find I'm glad to say in this sub genre. Sci-fi has a huge range of styles and genres with hundreds of authors - sadly most of them punting out utterly unreadable pap. The military sci-fi seems to be particularly badly affected with the majority of (American) authors punting out risible garbage. I've started many books only to give up in dispair after the first ten pages because it's so badly written. With that in mind I bought this based on 100% favourable reviews - which are not always reliable.

However, I'm glad to report that Nuttall has broken the mold and written an excellent book with a taut storyline and believable characters. And they are British which makes an interesting change. The references and interaction are instantly recognisable. You could be down the local pub.

He can write well. I hate it when an author's imagination exceeds his or her ability to convey it on paper. Nuttall has a rare talent in that he has joined the small group of those people who can write this sort of story without having a reader of even passable intelligence grinding their teeth.

Without a doubt the nearest I would say this story comes to is the Black Jack Geary stories of Jack Campbell. Better written with more action and three dimensional characters. My current favourite author in this genre is Evan Currie and to that list I'll add Nuttall.

The story revolves around Britain's first and now mothballed interstellar carrier, captained by a bored drunk. The newer carriers are faster, sleeker and of course better. Apart from the small fact that they lack the old heavyweight armour of the Ark Royal. Because of that in the first conflict and first war, Ark Royal is pulled back into operation and of the captain has to both fight his inner demons and keep hold of his command against all odds and of course expectations.

Its a great yarn. It's not Hamilton or Asher - but then it's they tend towards more complicated plots and the grotesque. Overall a worthy rival to Currie.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Needs editing., 30 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Ark Royal (Kindle Edition)
I saw the reviews on this, and then saw it was top of the Kindle SF chart, so thought it was worth a read. Although I enjoyed it, I definitely think the large volume of 5*s is way over the top. The story itself is quite good, but fairly typical military SF. My main concern was that it is desperately in need of a good edit. Not only are there multiple typos, but considerable repetition and some clumsy sections that cry out for a good editor. I appreciate that it is self published and so has not gone through the "traditional" process, but these issues definitely reduced my enjoyment of the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Tosh, 31 July 2014
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This review is from: Ark Royal (Kindle Edition)
I didn't want to write a review until I had read all three books and I am sad to report that I have wasted both my time and money in the effort book one showed promise and was value for money however as I progressed through the series the price kept going up the quality of the work did not I am sad to say that I gave up on book 3 at 64%
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Its more than a book...Go Ark Royal, 2 July 2014
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Ok lets get this out of the way first, The Bad Bits. The prose at the start of the book is in my opinion a little amateurish. I have tried writing many times and the first few pages are always hard work so it reminded me of my failed efforts. Unlike me, Mr Nuttall has lots of great ideas and the book soon gets up a head of steam. Bad bits 2 & 3: Too much stuff on the reporters, couldn't see the relevance really and finally what the hell happened to the Russian Commandos? ....maybe they are in the second book?? Good Bits; Anyway, I really enjoyed the book, cracking action, nothing too deep but very enjoyable. I kept thinking it was a bit like a game, anyone remember Tie Fighter and the original PC Star Trek, where you a grid system and warped to each sector but didn't know what was in there until you got there ....No? Ok maybe I am just showing my age. So, is it worth buying, well I have bought the next one and I am hugely looking forward to immersing myself in the Nuttall universe again. Go Ark Royal...I felt proud to be British again, at last.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Garbage, 17 April 2014
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Incredibly boring, internal monologue after internal monologue, couldn't finish it. The book could have had half the word count and it would been much better.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Space Karaoke, 10 May 2014
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Ark Royal by Christopher Nuttall is so bad, it is bad. I can't for the life of me reconcile the five star reviews with the book that sits in front of me. This isn't so much Space Opera as Space Karaoke, a pale,limp and uninspired imitation of a genre that has been blessed by far more talented hands such as Herbert, Simmons, Reynolds, et al. This book is more Dan Brown in space. Turgid writing, etch-a-sketched characters and action so leaden it defies logic. It takes a rare form of talent to be able to turn military science fiction into something this dull! But the writer has succeeded. Hats off to you sir, well done!!!

Where oh, where to start? Ah yes, the plot. Aged battleship considered obsolete actually turns out to be man's redemption in the fight against invaders by being able to throw bits of rock really fast. Excellent, what's next? Ah, characters! The crew is made up of interchangeable stereotypes. The captain is a drunk but transforms into the strong stoic leader, the second in command is ambitious and wants his own command but tows the line, the fighter ace that has problems at home, ad infinitum. Now repeat these descriptions every 20 pages or so to fill in the time between the dull as ditchwater space battles. Repetition of these is NOT character development, it is repetition. It gets dull very, very quickly.

And that's just the men. Women, in the context of this narrative, are seen purely through the looking glass of sexism in that they are frequently described as weak or stupid in comparison to their male counterparts with a toe curling air of subservience. Add to that the constant referencing of attractiveness and you begin to wonder about how the author actually views women. This is definitely a universe where men are MEN and women are irrelevant. Add to this the vague undertones of xenophobia that permeate this book and you start to realise how atrocious this actually is. There's a distinct whiff of how utterly brilliant the UK is and how everyone else is a bit rubbish but redeemable if only they would conform to our standards. It is, to quote some British vernacular, "a bit pony and trap".

So, what about the action then? Is it exciting? Is it riveting? Errr...no would be the answer. I was reading this outside in the garden and the squirrels racing through the tree branches were having more fun than me. Hell, even the ants were seeing more action! The key selling point should have been the battles between the eponymous ship and the aliens but these are described in such a clinical and dispassionate way that I couldn't help but think "skip to the end!" And then you come to the (literally) indescribable enemy. I lost count of the number of times that the word "alien" was used. At one point I lost it completely and started shouting "Get a Thesaurus!! It's a book with words that have a similar meaning. Use it!!"

Well, that aside, the aliens are described as "ugly" and are vaguely humanoid and leathery. And that is about it. I think. I'm sure there was some sort of medical examination that took place in which more information was divulged but by that point I was feeling like the dog in one of those Gary Larson cartoons. You know, the one where it has a man pointing at a dog with the title "what you say to a dog" followed by "what the dog hears". In this case it was "Blah, Blah, Blah, Alien, Blah, Alien, Alien, Alien, Alien, Blah, Blah." I think the point I really lost it was when the **** ship was described as being made from "unobtanium" or some such rubbish. You then have to factor in the technology as well which is just laughable. I think I would have been more excited and enthused if it had been titled "UK vs Giant Spheres of DOOM". I particularly like the idea of tramlines in space. It's a really good analogy for the actual novel as a whole: Doddering, rickety, and painfully slow.

I can't believe I parted with my own money for this. It is basically science fiction for people who don't like science fiction, reading, plot, characterization, originality, style or logic for that matter. It is an "experience" to read (or endure depending on your viewpoint I suppose!) but judging by his audience there are lots of people who like his stuff so fair play to him. He's just not my cup of tea!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A struggle, 14 May 2014
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I struggled to get to grips with all of the characters. But, most of all I was disappointed with the battle scenes. I anticipated being pulled to the edge of my seat during the battle scenes, but they left me feeling a little flat. I shall try the next one in the hope that it improves.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pretty unreadable, 13 July 2014
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Some of the concepts are pretty cool, but the ideas just get drowned out in the monotony of reading it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good old hero of the hour - with brits in it!, 22 Feb 2014
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If you read this write another one Chris!
This is fun, scary well written with some very good characters in it. British traditions (and Russian & Yanks thrown in) to beat a chunk out of the invaders. Bloody good fun as well.
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Ark Royal (Unabridged)
Ark Royal (Unabridged) by Christopher G. Nuttall
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