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VINE VOICEon 21 December 2010
I was a big fan os the first two books in the Shoal sequence, and I have to admit I found Empire of Light a bit of a let down. The first coupel of chapters can be summarised as follows:

Dakota - We need to find a big Deus ex machina to get us out of the nova war. I'll go and ask the Makers, who have been looking for it to destroy it for thousands of years. Oh, its called the Mos Hadroch.

Ty - I've heard of the Mos Hadroch and I know where it is. Lets go there.

And so a mystery that has defeated a galaxy spanning intelligence for milennia is solved in the time it takes to read a cup of tea.

That put a downer on the rest of the story for me, and although there are some very good action sequences and tense interstellar space opera scenes, it just never quite hangs together. The ending itself does not quite plumb the depths seen at the end of the Naked God, but it comes close in terms of mystical machines magically making things all better again. It is however redeemed by a much better epilogue.

In short, if you have read the rest of the Shoal books, you will want to read Empire of Light, but don't get your hopes up....
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on 9 March 2014
This is a good ending to the series, I recommend it to anyone who has read the previous books in the series.
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on 24 June 2014
This is another great journey to follow from Gary Gibson from the Shoal storyline. I have just one more book to read from Gary to complete the set, all of them have been good stories to date.
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on 25 May 2014
Yeah. Not great really. Not without it's high points though. If you liked the previous two, you'll like this one.
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on 28 October 2011
Having enjoyed the first two books, this was a massive disappointment. So many threads left dangling, so much that was far too easy, so little explanation of what is going on.

Very little of the story makes sense. There's a weapon that can destroy FTL drives. Our heroes find it rather easily, even though the god-like Makers have been searching for it for millennia. And the weapon destroys 80% of the Emissaries' Fleet. Instantaneously. And rather wonderfully Trader provides Dakota with weapons and shields from a vanished civilisation that are much better than anything the Magi ships have and which mean she can invade Emissary space to launch the weapon. Oh, and the Emissaries can track Dakota through some technology that nobody thought to tell anybody about before. Planted by Hugh for reasons that are never given. And Trader has been on an expedition to the Greater Magellenic Cloud and found out how to work the weapon. But he didn't tell anybody. Deus ex machina indeed.

At the end, we still don't really understand the Makers or why they are leaving caches all over the place, we don't meet the Emissaries at all (except in battle) and so get no further with what they are about and there are hinted at links between the Makers and the Atn that never go anywhere. And the Magi? and the makers of the weapon? Who knows?

For good measure, there's some sort of nonsense about the weapon only working for the just or the not so bad or something that is never explained. And Lucas becomes really good at fighting and Dakota dies twice. But she's alive at the end again. Or something.

I don't really know what wrong here. Having set up great situation, Gibson seems to have completely run out of ideas as to how he's going to resolve it. Instead he pretty much rewrites the back story so as to provide solutions to all the problems he has created - oh, didn't I tell you that I have the control programme/brilliant weapons/tracking devices/location of Excalibur? He descends into sub-fantasy with his magic weapon that is only for the virtuous and chickens out of having his main characters die.

A real shame, as Nova War set up the conclusion so well. Two stars because if you have read the others, you have to read this one, otherwise on a stand-alone basis 0 or 1.
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on 28 September 2010
I enjoy "Space Opera" and hard SF. This book was the final part of three and well worth the read. A blizzard of thought provoking ideas. Laced through with a good plot and good ending.
Only a small moan, don't let it put you off. When the plot led to an impossible cul de sac the villain or hero would somehow gain a sometimes implausible new gift or relevant info. This never being covered in the proceeding pages.
Never the less a cracking read, which leaves one waiting more from the author.
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VINE VOICEon 6 September 2010
Gary, for me, has always been an author who has taken new directions and provides the reader with the unexpected. Here, within the third part of the Nova War series, is a title that takes the reader not only into the unknown but does it with bags of talent. Beautifully written with a great story arc, colourful characters and a talent to tie threads together in a minimalist way that just screams of the sheer talent within alongside an overall sensational round up to help give the series a rounded feel. Finally back all that up with great pace, some memorable villains but perhaps most of all with a scope that is nearly as big within the pages as the universe itself and you know that you've had a really satisfactory read. Great stuff.
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on 10 July 2013
An exciting and entertaining ending to the series. An enjoyable sci fi read. This whole series has been easy going and fun to read. :)
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on 10 July 2010
Just finished reading Empire Of Light today - incidentally, I read the last few chapters of it sat drinking tea amongst the standing stones of a stone-age roundhouse over-looked by Kes Tor in Devon. Very atmospheric.
I deliberately read the two previous books (Stealing Light and Nova War) back to back a couple of days ago, to keep the continuity for Gary's' latest. After the first chapter I began to feel the Gibson pace-car getting me set for the race to the finish, he's certainly a master of pace. The characters from the previous instalments, love or hate them for who they are come back and shock you, confuse you and often annoy the hell out of you...why don't they die when they should, who let them on the ship, why is everyone so stupid? Infuriating and clever Gary Gibson has been. So much so, I'm not sure 'how' I feel exactly. Shouldn't a story leave you feeling rounded and satisfied? One particular bad guy/fish didn't die or redeemed himself appropriately in my mind. And for me, the heroine/anti-heroine didn't suffer enough to forgive her for letting the human race decide it's own future (with the help of hundreds of powerful spaceships). Mr Gibson is messing with our minds by introducing real-life plausibility and frustrations into his fiction...and does the book end with clues to a new adventure?
I can thoroughly recommend the Empire of Light. Don't read it as a standalone, it is vital to read the other two first to get your gander up - watch countless humans and 'others' behaving badly with the aid of some very fancy technology - Excellent!
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on 2 August 2010
This is an exultant ending to Gary Gibson trilogy. I slipped into the caricator as I started reading which was very good as I am a slow reader, took me about a week to finish it. Stealing Light was awesome brilliant technology and really weird aliens I had difficulty with Nova War which I was slarvating to get hold of it, this my be the fact that it is the middle book which have a tendency not to go any where. But Empire of Light gives you an satisfactory ending to this story arc with the epilogue giving you a teaser of possibilities to come, I will be happy if he writes something else but if he continues with Dakota Merrick carictor I will be a very very happy man.
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