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Absolution Gap Hardcover – 1 Jun 2004

3.6 out of 5 stars 86 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 1 Jun 2004
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 565 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Books; First Printing edition (Jun. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441011586
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441011582
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 4.4 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,477,268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

With Absolution Gap, Alastair Reynolds completes the star-spanning Inhibitors trilogy in which the previous books were Revelation Space and Redemption Ark. The Inhibitors are a mechanical plague, mindlessly but very resourcefully wiping out space-going civilisations that come to their notice. Their latest target is humanity, which lost a round in Redemption Ark. One small human faction now has stealth weapons and technologies that can almost fight Inhibitor assault to a standstill, but running away still seems the only long-term option.

From the same cryptic source as that supertechnology, filtered through a young girl's mind, comes the urgent message to make an interstellar trek to Hela, barren moon of the gas-giant Haldora. Hela is home to an obsessive religion fuelled partly by mind viruses and partly by the miracle of Haldora. This unpredictable, unbelievable event happens in an eyeblink, but more and more often. For the devout this increasing frequency is a signal of the End Times, which is why a group of vast mobile cathedrals lumbers forever around Hela--to keep Haldora at the zenith for best observation of its marvels. And on this last circuit, with a madman in command, the greatest cathedral of all plans an impossible short cut over the mysterious, delicate bridge spanning an immense rift in Hela's surface: Absolution Gap.

There's a lot of action with both familiar and enjoyably exotic weapons; there's suffering, deceit, loss and triumph; there's a hideous revenge straight out of Jacobean tragedy, a series of awesome revelations and the last voyage of the lightship Nostalgia for Infinity that was so strangely transformed in Revelation Space. Ultimately, behind the enigma of Haldora, a dreadful choice awaits: whether or not to bargain with powers that may be the answer to the Inhibitors--but may be something worse. Alastair Reynolds makes his huge story compellingly readable, with characters we care about, and gives impressive descriptions of beauty and cataclysm. This is very superior space opera. --David Langford --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"A terrific treat...rendered with the authentic voice of a working scientist. Ferociously intelligent and imbued with a chilling logic--it may really be like this Out There."

A book of great fascination, rich description, and memorable action. ("Locus")

"A book of great fascination, rich description, and memorable action."--Locus

"Reynolds writes a lean and muscular prose where the intense action scenes are leavened with the kind of bright, shining, mind-boggling science talk that characterizes the best of post-modern space opera."--Science Fiction Weekly --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is my first online review, so will be a little ragged. Having read Revelation Space and Redemption Ark some time ago I was looking forward to Absolution Gap with eager anticipation.
Firstly, the aspect of this novel that I really enjoyed was the emphasis on the characters rather than the narrative. I felt like I was getting to know and feel for the characters better than the previous two novels.
The narrative however seems to have come under attack by one of the Inhibitor's weapons and has suffered severe damage. Reynolds has not capitalised on or expanded the story lines from the previous two installments and has introduced many plot elements that add nothing of value.
Deus Ex Machina is invoked far too liberally.
He is also rather inconsistent with his arbitrary adherence to or violation of the known laws of physics.
Having been rather negative so far I will conclude by saying that I still thoroughly enjoyed the book and would recommend it to any space opera or hard(ish) SF fan.
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Format: Paperback
Firstly let me say that I did enjoy this book, but it really doesn't feel like the finale to such an epic series of events. Most of the book focuses entirely on the characters thoughts and feelings and very little on the continuing war with the inhibitors. Maybe the author after building the virtually unstoppable nature of the inhibitor threat over two previous books so well, the author felt unable or unwilling to put forward a credible description of the actual battle with them and thus relegates this part of the novel to "offscreen action" and infoms the reader only of the end results of these confrontations that would seem son integral to the tension of the storyline. The book finishes without dealing with most of the issues that I thought would form part of the finale and indeed seems to wrap up the entire story almost as an after thought in the space of quite literally one or two paragraphs.

I did like the character and did want to learn more about them, but not at the complete expense of the plot, especially when a lot of the actions of the main characters seem to be quite inexplicable at times and they frequently seem to jump between one mindset and other just to facilitate further twists in turns in their realtionships with one another . Thats why I have to say that while this book is an enjoyable part of the story, I can't see why the author chose to all but abandon the main thrust of the storyline in order to focus on the minutae of the characters lives, and that's why in my opinion a fourth book to deal with the outcome of the story properly would have made this book sit a whole lot better with me.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really looked forward to this book after reading all of the previous books set in the same fiction. I was dissapointed with this one. I felt the characters were even weaker in this book than any previous novel. The characters not always being Reynolds strength at the best of times. His habit of killing off major characters might help shift the plot along but it does mean he has to reintroduce new major players every book.
The massive twist at the end of the book is so much surprising as looking like he struggled to find a good ending in time to make the publishers deadline.
The weaponary and technology are as impressive as ever definitely Reynolds strenght is in describing these and other scientific factors and making them seem plausible no matter how exotic.
Not a bad book, just not one of his best.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Absolution Gap is a wonderful novel, full of big ideas beautifully executed. It's wonderfully baroque in its design, managing to marry themes as diverse as a convincingly weird religious zealot living amongst mobile cathedrals, and the slow, inexorable extinction of the human race at the hand (or mechanical claws) of relentless machine intelligences. Along the way it manages to hook into several deep, satisfying veins of narrative - the cost and prizes of redemption, insolence in the face of inevitability, loss in the face of triumph, and what it means to choose wisely when no truly wise course is obvious. It's a more coherent book than its precursors in the Revelation Space universe, coming as it does as the final capstone of a vast and satisfying operatic epic. Unlike some of the earlier books, there is almost nothing in here that seems arbitrary - nothing that seems irrelevant - nothing that seems wasteful. That is, in terms of its own internal narrative.

All that said, it's not flawless. The most significant question I had about the book as it made its way to the end is 'How can Reynolds possibly end this tale in a way that is truly satisfying?'. Spoiler - he doesn't. In fairness, I'm not sure there *was* a way to end a series like this in a way that would have left me feeling sated, but I was hoping for something a little more than the pound shop James Bond-esque theatrics that concludes it. Reynolds is at his best when he's tackling big, deep themes, and that's not really executed well in the finale. It's not enough to spoil an excellent book - it is after all the voyage, not the destination, that matters the most in fiction. It just casts the book into an odd orbit in the series - with the right ending, this would have been the crowning jewel.
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