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Crystal Rain [Kindle Edition]

Tobias S. Buckell
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.99
Kindle Price: $9.99
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Sold by: Macmillan
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Book Description

Crystal Rain is much-anticipated debut novel by Tobias S. Buckell, one of science fiction's newest and most promising talents.

Long ago, so the stories say, the old-fathers came to Nanagada through a worm's hole in the sky. Looking for a new world to call their own, they brought with them a rich mélange of cultures, religions, and dialects from a far-off planet called Earth. Mighty were the old-fathers, with the power to shape the world to their liking---but that was many generations ago, and what was once known has long been lost. Steamboats and gas-filled blimps now traverse the planet, where people once looked up to see great silver cities in the sky.

Like his world, John deBrun has forgotten more than he remembers. Twenty-seven years ago, he washed up onto the shore of Nanagada with no memory of his past. Although he has made a new life for himself among the peaceful islanders, his soul remains haunted by unanswered questions about his own identity.

These mysteries take on new urgency when the fearsome Azteca storm over the Wicked High Mountains in search of fresh blood and hearts to feed their cruel, inhuman gods. Nanagada's only hope lies in a mythical artifact, the Ma Wi Jung, said to be hidden somewhere in the frozen north. And only John deBrun knows the device's secrets, even if he can't remember why or how!

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

John deBrun, an amnesia victim with a hook instead of a left hand, must save his adopted society on the planet Nanaganda by recovering a lost technological artifact, the Ma Wi Jung, in Buckell's at times overly violent but enjoyable SF debut. John, living happily with his wife and son, has suppressed the memories of everything before his rescue from a watery grave 27 years earlier. When one group of native humans along with alien beings invade John's town, he winds up captured by the planet's other human society, the Azteca, whose culture is based on ritual sacrifice. Ruled by bloodthirsty, genetically engineered aliens called the Teotl, the Azteca have tunneled through the mountain range that separates the two human societies. Only the heroic efforts of John and acquaintances from his murky past can stop the ruthless Azteca. For a first-timer, Buckell handles his interlocking narratives well and his characters retain their humanity (even the slightly alien ones). Unusual for the genre, the many victims of torture and death are evenly divided between males and females. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

John DeBrun lives, mostly peacefully, on Nanagada with his wife, Shanta, and son, Jerome, troubled only by the fact that he remembers nothing of his past. War is brewing, however, with the Azteca preparing to finally cross the Wicked High Mountains in search of new sacrifices for their gods, the teotl. As the mongoose-men, defenders of Nanagada, struggle to hold out, John discovers that what he has forgotten may hold the secret to saving Nanagada. Pepper, clearly one of the mysterious old-fathers--wonder-workers from a distant planet who fought a war that left the land devastated and deprived of functional metal technology--claims to have known John long ago. Haidan, leader of the mongoose-men, and Dihana, prime minister of Capitol City, coerce John into leading an expedition to find Ma Wi Jung, which, according to the Loa--godlike beings who interfere with human affairs--is their only hope for defeating the Azteca. Buckell's first novel conjures a vividly imagined world, spiced with intrigue and adventure that unfolds at a breakneck pace. Regina Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 1164 KB
  • Print Length: 385 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0765312271
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Reprint edition (February 7, 2006)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0015UB10C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #452,506 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Adventure Novel July 18, 2007
I've read stories of the cut-off colony that forgets its roots before, but what makes this one so interesting to me is that most of such tales are set untold centuries after, when no one remembers the way things were or recognizes the bits of mystical ancient machines for the high tech they were. In Crystal Rain, however, there are characters still around from those days, people (and things!) born with the benefit of genetic engineering and biotech, who have lived the 300 or so years since the break with galactic civilization. These are people who have gone on to have children, knowing that the children will be born sans benefit of these technologies, will age and die at the "normal" rate. So you have parents outliving their kids and their grandkids. Maybe its being a relatively new parent at a relatively late age myself, but I find this really poignant and intriguing both. Equally welcome was the much-touted Caribbean culture. Airship battles with Aztec warriors doesn't hurt either. Though it was the quiet moments between the ailing General Hayden and Prime Minister Dihana that were the stand-out bits for me as I look back. This was a high action adventure novel that gave me some new twists on old ideas. Bottom line: Toby can really write! I'm in for the ride on this series (of related stand-alone's it looks like.)
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
I picked this up with no advance knowledge about the author based on the cover -- the cover evoked some of the old Edgar Rice Burroughs stuff I love so much.

Wow! What a great surprise. I was hooked from the very first chapter. I purchased it, took it home, and almost read it in one sitting. The world and its inhabitants are so well developed and so lovingly described that I was completely involved in the story. And, as its cover suggests, it did in places evoke the best that the pulps had to offer (the airship chase, for example).

First novel? I'm impressed. One of the best books I've ever read, period.

One minor, miniscule complaint: The dialect spoken by the natives of this world was difficult reading for me at first. Early on in the story, I found myself re-reading some of the dialogue to make sure I understood what they were saying.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brought me back to Science Fiction February 21, 2006
The book is a great entry point into Science fiction for readers. This is the 2nd or third science fiction book I have read since the likes of Fahrenheit 451 etc back in high school and it was easily one of the most interesting books I have read in the past few years. The new world which was created with internal conflicts and an amazing character differences allowed me to be immersed in the book. As I read the book I felt a connection to the John deBrun. The book is filled with surprises and has many points where it seems the end is imminent only to have John overcome a precarious situation.

I would definitely recommend this read even if you have not enjoyed science fiction in the past, the guns and weaponry of the book are not those of Star wars, real explosions and guns which shoot bullets are abundant, painting a much more dramatic and realistic picture than laser beams zipping across a room.

Crystal Rain, A great story which can be enjoyed by veteran Science Fiction Readers as well as Newcomers to the genre.

For Current SF readers to base some comparison I also enjoy Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves by Cory Doctorow and Accelerando by Charles Stross and Ranger Girl by Tim Pratt
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read! Warning Spoilers June 15, 2006
Crystal Rain is an interesting science-fiction novel written with fantasy conceits. The novel starts off very much like a typical fantasy novel introducing a world inhabited mostly by people of Caribbean descent in a peninsula nation called Nanagada. John LeBrun is an amnesiac who washed ashore a couple of decades previously and is quite different than the people he lives with. He is white, speaks differently, and doesn't seem to age. Despite this, he is accepted and marries a local woman and has a teenaged son.

Across a mostly impassable mountain range are the Azteca. The Azteca are an Aztec-derived culture that oddly follows the historical Aztecs to be more than coincidence. The action begins when the Azteca complete a tunnel through the mountain range and invade in the name of their gods. At first, John doesn't want to get involved, he just wants to live his life. When he is separated from his family by the invasion, he starts taking action.

Here is where the twist comes in. The gods of the Azteca are real, but they are aliens. They have created the Azteca as a way to enslave the human race. The humans on this world are colonists. Some of the first colonists, called "Old Fathers" were very powerful and had the "nana" to keep them young. The Nanagada have alien allies called "the Loa," but they are temperamental and mostly stay hidden. One thing I really liked is that Buckell uses advanced technology in the story, but as far as the colonists are concerned it is magic.

Once the Azteca invasion is in full force, John leads a quest to find an ancient weapon left by the Old Fathers to stop the invasion. Typically, this sort of quest would be dull and repetitive and the main character is simply the Chosen One.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun but a bit
First: an airing of grievances. Why do sci fi and fantasy writers feel compelled to start their books with a prologue? Buckell actually has two. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Hurricane
5.0 out of 5 stars My first but not my last Buckell book
I will probably avoid the Halo books as I'm not a gamer, but will keep an open mind and try those too.
Published 9 months ago by Kindle Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Debut could use a little trimming
`Crystal Rain' (Tor, $24.95, 352 pages) is the first in a series, and set in a world with guns but not tanks and computer. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Clay Kallam
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun story imgaginitive universe
I enjoyed this story. The blend of high tech and low tech makes an enjoyable read. I read all of the stories I could find in this sequence from the author.
Published 24 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid Science Fiction
T.S. Buckell is going to be added to my short list of worth while science fiction writers - especially impressive since the "science" was very light (in a good way) - and... Read more
Published on January 2, 2013 by J.W. Schell
5.0 out of 5 stars Non Stop Action and Suspense
This story is amazing. I cannot wait to read the sequel. Tobias writing style is picturesque. I can smell the environment, I can hear the sounds, I feel the emotions. Read more
Published on December 27, 2012 by Anna
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Debut Novel: Adventuresome and Flavorful
So, we pause for a hur-dur moment. Several years ago, I read Ragamuffin and Sly Mongoose and enjoyed them. Read more
Published on December 3, 2011 by B. Henderson
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Characters, Adventure, and Ideas
Several reasons led me to pick up this book, the debut novel from Tobias S. Buckell. First of all, the guy won Writers of the Future a few years back, so that drew me in to begin... Read more
Published on March 18, 2011 by Alex J. Kane
5.0 out of 5 stars This IS the Sci-Fi I've been looking for!
I've been looking for good fantasy and sci-fi novels set outside of the usual Euro-centric mythologies forever, and Crystal Rain has the goods! Read more
Published on October 3, 2010 by Guy L. Gonzalez
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed but very promising book by first-time author
John deBrun lives a peaceful life with his wife and son. His missing memory is a worry, as his agelessness as those around him get older, but the evil Azteca are safely on the... Read more
Published on May 24, 2010 by booksforabuck
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More About the Author

Tobias S. Buckell is a Caribbean-born speculative fiction writer who grew up in Grenada, the British Virgin Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He now lives in Ohio.

He has published stories in various magazines and anthologies. He is a Clarion graduate, Writers of The Future winner, and Campbell Award for Best New SF Writer Finalist. His work has appeared in the Year's Best Science Fiction anthologies. His novel Ragamuffin was nominated for the Nebula and Prometheus awards.

You can visit his website at

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