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Nova War (Shoal) Paperback – 9 May 2013

4.0 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Tor; New Edit/Cover edition (9 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1447224108
  • ISBN-13: 978-1447224105
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 4.1 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 211,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"Gibson stakes his claim to be considered alongside the leading triumvirate of British hard sf writers . . . "Nova War" is a gripping red and a treat for all fans of intelligent space opera." --"Guardian"

Book Description

One woman and a terrifying secret stand between us and destruction.

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gary Gibson's 'Nova War' is the second part of the Shoal Sequence trilogy. Part One is Stealing Light. It doesn't make a lot of sense to read this without first having read Stealing Light.

It is a classic Space Opera, spanning the galaxy, leaping from spiral arm to spiral arm but, like it's predecessor, it really could have done with a bit more active editing - Gary Gibson's use of hyperbole and seriously over-the-top metaphor intrudes frequently and makes a gripping tale pretty hard going at times.

It starts slowly, if rather painfully, with the first hundred pages or so given over to the torture of our heroes Dakota Merrick and Lucas Corso by the 'Bandati', a race of winged aliens with peculiar names (such as the Proustian 'Remembrance of Things Past') - clients of the Shoal, themselves a race of strangely named fish-like aliens who possess the secret of superluminal (i.e. faster than light) travel.

Once that is out of the way, the book really gets going. It expands into not just a story of a few humans faced with aliens, but a great political struggle between factions within the Shoal, rival Hive Queens within the Bandati and the arrival of the hilariously bloodthirsty, violent and fanatical rivals of the Shoal - the Emissaries.

Behind all this is the struggle for the possession of not only the Nova bomb technology but also the search for the Magi and the Makers. So - a wonderfully complex and devious plot.

The timeline is not straightforward, as the story jumps about, filling in details from the past.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This rather unusually improves upon the first in the series Stealing Light. The writing is sparser: there is less unecessary detail and recapitulation . There are a variety of set-piece events all of which are decently done and move the plot along, which is not always the case in this genre.
The various "political" sub-plots are all tweaked and tested at various points and Gibson has kept a grip on who is doing what to whom and why.

The direction of travel looks good for an interesting finale!
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Format: Hardcover
The preceding volume to this one, Stealing Light, culminated in the human protagonists, Dakota Merrick and Lucas Corso, fleeing an exploding star having discovered the dark secret that a superluminal drive could force a sun to go nova, making it a phenomenal weapon. They ended up in a system controlled by the Bandati, a race whose social organisation resembles that of insects, with Hives ruled by Queens.

It is at this point that Nova War takes up the story: Dakota and Lucas have been captured and extensively tortured by the Bandati, who want to know all they know about FTL travel Meanwhile, Shoal agent Trader-in-Faecal-Matter-to-Animals, is continuing in his efforts to prevent the spread of knowledge of the FTL secret, and preserve his race. His job is made more difficult, however, by the revelation that the Bandati have long had a Magi derelict of their own, and have been secretly in contact with the Emissaries, an aggressively expansionist race who also possess FTL technology, and with whom the Shoal have been fighting a secretive cold-war for centuries. With conflict occurring between rival Bandati Hives, suddenly Dakota and Lucas' knowledge of the Magi makes them valuable commodities, and they have no choice but to negotiate their way through a tangled web of treacherous alien agendas in order to find some way to protect the Human race, as the Shoal-Emissary conflict enters a new phase, and the purposes of the intelligent Magi starships become clearer, too.
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Format: Hardcover
Gary Gibson's "Nova War" is an exciting, gripping space-war novel that sparkles with credible science-fiction invention.

This was the first book by Gibson that I've read. It was very enjoyable so I'll definitely be buying more.

"Nova War" is the sequel to "Stealing Light", but Gibson fill in any gaps that you might need so that it reads well as a stand-alone novel in its own right.

The plot moves along apace with plenty of excitement along the way. The story-telling hops between different scenarios relating to the main four characters, following their differing paths until they converge for the finale. This is a well established and effective story-telling technique and Gibson uses it well in the main. However, occasionally, it feels a bit cumbersome as he flips back in the plot's time-line, causing the reader to just hesitate slightly in getting to an understanding of what's going on. Thankfully, this happens rarely enough for it not to affect the overall enjoyment.

A book worthy of other luminaries of the scene, such as Alastair Reynolds.
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