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The Green and the Gray Mass Market Paperback – September 29, 2005

4 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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The Absconded Ambassador: Genrenauts Episode 2 by Michael R. Underwood
"The Absconded Ambassador" by Michael R. Underwood
When a breach is discovered in Science Fiction World, rookie genrenaut Leah Tang gets her first taste of space flight. Learn more | See related books

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Like its title, Zahn's urban drama of a New York City couple fighting to save both their beloved city and an odd child thrust into their care is understated yet compelling. What starts out for Roger and Caroline Whittier as another evening full of bickering and resentment turns into something otherworldly after they, not the criminal who tried to strangle her, take possession of mysterious 12-year-old Melantha Green. One strange event after another follows: the girl melts into the potted orange trees on the Whittiers' balcony; invisible men climb the sides of buildings; and everywhere he goes, Roger is accosted by various factions of "Greens" and "Grays." Each group claims that a civil war is brewing in the parks of Manhattan and that it will be averted only if Melantha is turned over to them. An NYPD detective—sent to investigate a double break-in at the Whittier's apartment—gets dragged into the action when he just can't let go of several inexplicable loose ends. One nice touch in this highly enjoyable hybrid of SF and mystery is that at no point does any one character know exactly what's going on. As the further mark of a mature writer, Zahn (Angelmass) portrays a realistic marriage in which it takes more than magic to resolve conflicts.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Mixes fantasy and contemporary adventure very well, creating something both entertaining and interesting. A very enjoyable read."
--Fantastica Daily on The Green and the Gray"Zahn keeps the story moving at a breakneck pace, maintaining excitement."
--Publishers Weekly on Dragon and Thief

"The direction Manta's Gift ultimately takes is inventive and unexpected . . . Zahn plays out his suspense as deftly as always, building a tense situation and ultimately defusing it in believable and pleasing ways."
--Locus on Manta's Gift

"YA readers looking for more than the usual SF action-adventure should be well pleased."
--Publishers Weekly on Manta's Gift:

"The author of Angelmass brings a new twist to a classic tale of human-alien encounter, combining fast-paced action and hard science with personal drama. A good choice for most sf collections."
--Library Journal on Manta's Gift:

"Another thoroughly literate sf yarn from Zahn."
--Booklist on Manta's Gift:

"Angelmass is thus a serious SF novel sneakily posing as an enormous golden-age thrill ride."
--Locus on Angelmass

"Zahn paints every futuristic detail with gleamy realism and mock scientific dialogue that streams with starship hardware and military trooper talk. Once underway, immensely appealing."
--Kirkus Reviews on Angelmass

"Through in-depth characterization, as well as toothsome scientific and political mysteries, Zahn unfold an intricate tale of adventure sure to please his many fans."
--Publishers Weekly on Angelmass

"The latest novel by the award-winning author of the first published Star Wars trilogy, this combines fast-paced action with believable characters to produce a first-rate sf space adventure that belongs in most libraries."
--Library Journal on Angelmass

"This very solid, very readable SF novel delivers the essential kick of the best work in the genre, and it would be encouraging if that larger audience picked this book up as well. It certainly delivers all the qualities of the best SF adventure writing. Recommended."
--Asimov's SF Magazine on Angelmass

"Mixes fantasy and contemporary adventure very well, creating something both entertaining and interesting. A very enjoyable read." (Fantastica Daily)

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Science Fiction; 1st Printing edition (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765346451
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765346452
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,721,125 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Malcolm on September 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Granted, Zahn's books are a bit formulaic - the oncoming conflict that will destroy wherever the book is set or kill many innocents, the inability to stop it until the very end when a surprise twist occurs that fixes it all - but that doesn't mean it's bad. Most mystery stories follow much the same plot, but without the feeling of impending doom. The point is not that you already know how its going to end, the point is how he gets there.

And, in this case just as in all the others, it's one amazing ride. The two cultures and upwards of 30 main characters are all fascinating and vibrant, keeping the reading flowing through all 450-odd pages. The plot twists come with the usual Zahn rapidity, each being totally plausible and usually just as totally unexpected (though, in hindsight, you should have seen it coming). I buy every Zahn book as soon as I realize it's out, and I haven't once been dissappointed. It's not the deepest reading ever, but it's always fun, and it might make you think more than you expect.

Highly reccomended.
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Format: Hardcover
The first fifty pages of The Green and the Gray knocked me flat. Zahn created a near-perfect picture of some ordinary folks (specifically an endlessly bickering married couple) tossed into an extraordinary situation (specifically a gang war between rival bands of extraterrestrials).

And then things fell apart a little. Over the next four hundred pages, the characters I felt like I knew so well became cliched, competent-man types. They were doing interesting things, but they weren't very interesting people any more. Add to this the fact that there are so many different members of these "gangs" with so many slightly varying viewpoints, and this carefully constructed character drama devolved into a novel where it was hard to even remember all the parties involved.

Which isn't to disparage The Green and the Gray too much. It's still a fun read, packed with Zahn's typically inventive action sequences... but I can't help feeling that it could have been more. If you're new to Zahn's work, you might want to check out Manta's Gift instead.
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By A Customer on September 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
In 1928, extraterrestrials that looked human went through Riker's Island to become citizens of their new home. The Greens were chased off their home world by the Grays in a war that started over a simple misunderstanding. The Greens did not know that the Grays, in order to escape the Others, followed the Greens to earth. For decades neither group knew of the other's existence until a boy from one group and a girl from the other became friends.

Their elders found out since both live in New York City; the Grays try to shove the Greens off the island until they agree to a truce if the Greens kill Melantha Green who can destroy the city with her mental powers. Innocent bystanders Roger and Caroline Whittier take Melantha try to hide her when someone from the group hands her to them but she disappears and they don't know which group got her. The Whittiers are determined to save Melantha and their city yet also somehow forge a truce between the opposing camps.

There are many aliens who live among us in science fiction stories such as the Men in Black, but Timothy Zahn has a unique and original way of taking a tribe plot and turning it into a fantastic storyline. This is an action oriented story where it is almost impossible to figure out the characters motives and nobody knows who is a friend or an enemy. This makes for a lot of suspense and the onus is on the reader to figure out who is friend or foe. There's a surprise twist at the end of the story that makes THE GREEN AND THE GRAY a very exciting work of speculative fiction.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I just finished re-reading "The Green and the Gray" by Timothy Zahn. At times I re-read books that I recall were really well written, typically after 5-10 years have gone by. On the second reading sometimes a novel seems to come short of what I had hoped for, perhaps because of high expectations from recalling how good it was. However, in the case of this book, I found that it was actually more enjoyable on the second read through than I recall it being on the first!

Unlike some of this author's other works, this story is set in the present day, in New York City. It features two sets of aliens, passing as humans, who have lived there for many years, unaware of each other's presence. They have recently found each other and some factions in each group are either trying to avoid a war or gearing up to win the war.

Into the midst of this volatile situation comes a young married human couple who attempt to protect a 12 year old girl who is from one of the alien factions. As they do so, they are thrust into the midst of the upcoming confrontation with each group attempting to find the girl. In the process, the couple (Roger and Caroline Whittier) learns of the true story of the aliens' origin, history and how they came to our world, including details the aliens themselves were unaware of. They, along with a NYC police detective (Thomas Fierenzo), end up playing a pivotal role in attempting to defuse the situation before it means the death of thousands of aliens and humans.

It is somewhat of a cliché to call a book a "page turner", but that really was the case for me with this one.
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