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Free Fall (Retrievers, Book 5) Paperback – May 1, 2008

11 customer reviews
Book 5 of 6 in the Retrievers Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Picking up shortly after the devastating battle between humans and fey atop the Brooklyn Bridge in 2007's Burning Bridges, Gilman's compelling fifth foray into the fantastic netherworld of modern-day Manhattan takes an even darker turn. Most of the surviving members of the Cosa Nostradamus, an informal collective of demon Fatae and magic-using human Talents, have retreated into hiding, while the Silence, a violently anti-fey covert organization, has regrouped under the leadership of a dangerous fanatic. When Wren Valere, a professional thief and Talent, takes on a simple smash-and-grab job that turns out to be a setup, she swears to stop the Silence and their fey-hunting vigilantes once and for all. With streamlined prose, Gilman deftly weaves intricate plot threads and complex relationships into an almost painful buildup of violent suspense. The result is an intelligent and utterly gripping fantasy thriller, by far the best of the Retrievers series to date. (May)
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About the Author

Laura Anne Gilman is the author of the popular Cosa Nostradamus books (the Retrievers and Paranormal Scene Investigations urban fantasy series), the Nebula award-nominated The Vineart War trilogy. Her first story collection is Dragon Virus, and she continues to write and sell short fiction in a variety of genres. Follow her at @LAGilman or

Product Details

  • Paperback: 345 pages
  • Publisher: Luna (May 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373802676
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373802678
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,437,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Free Fall continues three and half months after the battle in Burning Bridges, and in the aftermath most of the non-human magical 'Fatae' have left the city and the 'Cosa', the tenative coalition of all magical beings, is holding its breath waiting for the bigoted power organization, 'The Silence', to strike again -- the Silence won't be satisfied until all the magical beings including the Fatae and the human magic-using 'Talents' have been eliminated.

Wren begins the book trying for some normalacy in her post-Sergei world, she still has to pay the bills so she's on a Retrieval, but what should be an easy in-and-grab turns out to be a deadly trap. Wren manages to survive but the price of her survival is one that she doesn't truly understand and the backlash of her actions 'break' her in a subtle way. When minions of the Silence begin openly targeting the Talented, Wren convinces the Cosa to go on the offensive but using guerilla and sniper tactics instead of striking openly. But in order to make their effort effective Wren must search out the master of information, her ex-partner/ex-lover Sergei, who she believes betrayed her trust at the end of the last book. Sergei having accepted the undeserved verdict is very pragmatic, even though he misses Wren, as long as Wren is safe he can handle not being with her, but in order to make sure that she stays safe he continues to do the job the Silence trained him for -- gathering information -- so Sergei is ready with what Wren needs when she comes seeking his help.

I enjoyed Free Fall much more than the previous book, which ended on a sad note with the world falling apart and a high price paid by all who survived.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By K. Shaw on April 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
I stumbled across the Retriever series accidentally in the bookstore, and have been in love with it since...that is until this book. The writing is still great, but the story line just seemed to flop in this one. I didn't put the book down, but I was awfully tempted. The back and forth between Wren and her partner made me insane - whose side are they on, are they working together, against one another, blah blah blah. This might be the fifth book in the series, but let's hope that this is the author's version of a sophmore slump.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 9, 2008
Format: Paperback
I love Laura Anne Gilman's books, don't get me wrong, but <u>Free Fall</u> was the first time I actually delved completely into this series. The last couple of books I felt the Wren/Sergei relationship was a little too much. However, like her note at the beginning of the book says, she found out what love is, and she communicated that knowledge very gracefully.

So, the first issue to address is the relationship. In Free Fall it felt far more nuanced and real than it has before. Not even just with Sergei, but with PB as well.

Second, the first chapter's illustration of what the Silence was when it was founded impressed me a great deal. It allowed more empathy to be placed upon the Organization and really fell in with that old adage "the road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

Third, the plot is clean, and while there were one or two blips I noticed while reading... I can honestly say I don't remember what they were now, so they can't have been all that important. The plot also has so much more pathos than the others. I feel for the characters, even the minor ones, in ways that were not near as deep or as meaning full in Burning Bridges or its predecessors.

All in all this was a great book. There is learning and growing, and learning to get along and when to kick butt. Both things are necessary, and both are brilliantly written here.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. Kyle VINE VOICE on May 13, 2008
Format: Paperback
After the disastrous fight between The Silence (organization to protect humans from mages) and the Cosa Nostradamus (mages' representative) in "Burning Bridges," you know there's going to be war. Wren and Sergei have broken up because Sergei is addicted to the 'current' that's part of Wren's magical power and Wren knows being intimate will eventually kill him.

Most of the fatae have moved out of New York City, but P. B. has opted to remain with Wren in her tiny apartment. Wren and Bonnie, her downstairs neighbor vow to protect the demon (fatae) as best they can.

Wren's taking work on her own without Sergei to guide her. Her first assignment nearly gets her killed and convinces her that the Cosa needs to go to war against the Silence, otherwise the Talents will be wiped out.

"Free Fall" is a fast-paced, strongly written story of war. It's also a relationship struggle between Wren and Sergei, who truly do love each other.

I was in a quandary as to whether I'd read further after "Burning Bridges" but I'm glad I did. I don't know if Ms. Gilman will be writing more in this series or not, but I don't plan on reading more. For me, the end of "Free Fall" struck a nice coda to the five book series.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Burning Bridges, the book before Free Fall pushed the Retrievers story off a cliff: "Wren" Valere and her partner/boyfriend Sergei split up, each thinking they were pushing the other away to protect them, her demon friend P.B. revealed that he is her familiar, whether she wants it or not, P.B. and Sergei were colluding instead of bickering, The Silence was the enemy instead of the client, and Valere was a leader instead of staying in the background and keeping her head down. While it was a fun book, it looked like the end of everything that made the series good.

Fortunately, this book sets out to undo most of the previous. In the several months since Bridges, Wren has taken small jobs on her own and tried to distance herself from the debacle at the Brooklyn Bridge. She's avoided Sergei completely and had P.B. move in so she can keep an eye on him. She is once again the lonejack Wren everyone expects: no one can get her involved in anything except her own life.

Early in the book, someone--presumably The Silence--sets her up and she winds up captured by three Nulls (non-magic-using humans) who are geared up to be protected from her magic. As they hold her down and discuss whether raping her is acceptable (if she's human, it is, they decide, but since she's a magic user....) she tries to find a way to escape and has to make a choice: is she willing to kill to protect herself? Either answer would be traumatic and her friends' response to either would not help.

This sets the theme of the book. Wren is haunted by her decision to kill the attackers, she is afraid of the deep, old power she called on to do so, and her friends don't understand why it bothers her at all. She is going slowly insane, closer to "wizzing" every day, and her friends can't do anything but watch.
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