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Stealing Light (Shoal Sequence) Paperback – 6 Jun 2008

3.5 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Paperback, 6 Jun 2008
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Product details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Tor (6 Jun. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330445960
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330445962
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 11.2 x 4.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 564,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Ambitious, clever . . . impressive." "--Starburst"

Book Description

The secrets of the past will fan the flames of war. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
It is the 25th century and the Consortium spreads out over an area of space in the orion arm. Although humanity do not have the capability to use ftl travel, a species called the Shoal do, and are the only species in the galaxy with that know-how. They happily transport humans within the area they have been designated, but they also put strict limits within the agreement they have with humans, one among many being the prohibition of research into ftl travel.

Dakota Merrick is a machine head, a human with implants that were made illegal after a terrible attack that killed many innocent humans. She now does whatever work she can get using her ship, Piri Reis, although sometimes taking dangerous cargo to keep the money coming in. It is during a job like this that things go wrong and she must get out of the Sol system quickly and keep her head down. She gets work on board the Hyperion, working for the Freehold in what she is told is a scout mission searching for a new planet for them.

Lucas Corso is blackmailed into working for the Freehold, his specialist skills in Shoal computer language desperately desired. The Freehold have discovered a derelict ship, one with ftl capabilities, but not of Shoal origin. They hope to retrieve this ship and use it for what they hope will be a glorious victory over their enemies and the start of independent human expansion throughout the galaxy, all under their watchful eye. However, the Shoal have kept a secret for thousands of years and are prepared to protect it at all costs. Now that this derelict is discovered, that secret is at risk of being revealed.

The derelict found by the Freehold is the main focus of this novel and brings together all characters we meet.
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Format: Paperback
The story is really strong and there are some excellent ideas here. The ending is also very good - I thought there would probably be some sort of 'get-out' but there wasn't - the characters have to live with the results of their actions.

But this book is just so badly written. The continual use of really over-the-top metaphor just reduces the whole thing to almost a pastiche of Flash Gordon - it is so 'gee-whizz' that it really started wearing me down. Yet I got through it - and I got through it because the ideas were so strong.

I think comparing it to early Alistair Reynolds is probably fair - but I actually got through this, whereas I simply gave up on Revelation Space. Give him his due, Reynolds has improved considerably since then. His latest - House of Suns - is a good read. So here's hoping Mr Gibson improves likewise.

What am I going to do when the next one comes out? Torn between the lure of some really powerful sci-fi ideas and the complete turn-off of a positively juvenile literary style; well, to be honest, I'll probably buy it. If you've ever read any early Alfred Bester (not including The Stars My Destination), you'll know that substance can definitely make up for form. :-)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading through these mixed reviews and deciding to buy the book and find out for myself. I've decided to pass on my thoughts.

First of all, don't buy the book expecting Hamilton, Banks or anyone of that ilk. As this is not the same scale, style or general read. However, it is entertaining, fairly fast paced, and a good overall idea (as mentioned before).

The main issue is it's just not as deep as other books I've read.

My advice would be not to expect too much and you "should" enjoy it. I've recently got into Neal Asher I would recommend him if you have finished most of Hamilton and Bank's work.

Hope this is helpful.
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Format: Paperback
This is a strange read from beginning to end. The plot was either frustratingly obvious, with the characters piecing it together like a drunk attempting a jigsaw puzzle, or just confusing, with random leaps of logic. There were some great ideas in there, original and solid, but the delivery was a little off. It's also worth saying that I'd read the next in the trilogy, if only to find out what happens next as the ending a very abrupt (and a little daft). Not a bad holiday read.
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Format: Paperback
"Stealing Light" was a great read - I swept through it very quickly. The action moves through a series of settings, roughly aligned with the three parts of the book, and each setting is driven by different but overlapping concerns. The ending was good but seemed to be a rather sudden turn-around in the last page or two. I can't help but think that there was a better book lurking in here which weaves the plot strands a little more elegantly.

This might sound like a negative review but despite all this I really enjoyed the book and liked the ideas behind the plot. I felt the book had some resonances with themes in the "Babylon 5" TV series. I'll be trying one of Mr Gibson's other books.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good, or even great, sci-fi space epics are, unfortunately, fairly few and far between. Some read in a very formulaic way; some are superficial and not thought through. This book, the first in a trilogy, has clearly been very thoroughly thought through by the author.

I found the beginning a bit confusing - leaping chapter to chapter through different times in the ensuing story made for a rather unnecessary confusion that a chronological narrative would not, I felt, have done. While I can understand the author wanting to get right into the action and grab the reader's interest, I felt that this undermined a coherent and cohesive beginning to the book for a few chapters. However, once you got all that straight in your mind, the action moved along very briskly.

The only other grumble I have is that the `heroine' character seems a bit of a mass of contradictions - for someone with her background, and with her AI implants etc., she seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time in the book naked and/or weeping. A bit odd, I thought. However, as the book progressed and we saw more action from the perspective of other, male, characters, this slight annoyance seemed to be more of a background issue than in the first part of the book.

The world that this book is set in reminded me of the Deathstalker worlds (series of novels by Simon R Green) - implants, `Ghost' technology, AIs, weapons of mass destruction, alien species, debauchery in the world lived in by the disgustingly rich and powerful - but that's not a bad thing. It's as valid a `future' or `alternative' reality as any, and, well-written, is highly entertaining for the reader. I loved the Deathstalker novels, and I thoroughly enjoyed this book - hopefully the following books will be just as entertaining and action-packed. Certainly by the end of this first part of the trilogy the setup for further action and intrigue seemed to be well under way.
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