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Heaven's Shadow Hardcover – Bargain Price, July 5, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David S. Goyer is a screenwriter, film director, and comic book writer. His work includes Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, as well as the upcoming Superman: Man of Steel.

Michael Cassutt is a television producer, scriptwriter, and author. His TV work includes The Twilight Zone, Max Headroom and Eerie, Indiana. His novels include Missing Man and Red Moon. They both live in Southern California.
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Product Details

  • Series: Heaven's Shadow (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Hardcover; 1 edition (July 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044102033X
  • ASIN: B005ZO6PY6
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,337,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Brian K. Miller on August 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover
There are many kinds of science fiction. Some, like "Contact", "2001, A Space Odyssey", or "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", contain far more mystical speculation than hard science. Others, like "Have Spacesuit, Will Travel", "The Bones of Time", or "Neuromancer" stay grounded in the real world of current scientific knowledge while speculating on how future developments might affect our lives. "Heaven's Shadow" is one of these.

It opens with two groups, NASA and a Russian/Indian/Brazilian coalition, racing to land on the surface of an enormous Near Earth Object as it passes Earth. They discover that the assumed meteor is in fact a gigantic alien craft of some kind. As they explore the craft a variety of mistakes are made, including the detonation of a "suitcase" nuclear device on the craft's surface. Despite those mistakes, or perhaps because of them, the interactions between the alien species and humanity lead to the alien's recognition that humans might be helpful allies in an ancient, inter-universe conflict which is the subject of "Heaven's War" due out in July, 2012.

Along the way the book explores themes of life, death, love, and loss through realitistic interactions of a variety of colorful characters that includes both professional astronauts and rambunctious teenagers. The inclusion of both children and adults, the intimate portrayal of the role of technology in daily life, and the shift from past to present and personal to international all add up to a page-turning level of suspense that falls slightly short of Clancy or Ludlum, but is refreshing in what could just as easily have been a dull collage of facts and figures (which is a trap far too many hard science fiction writers fall into).
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Format: Hardcover
This is one of those stories where the whole doesn't live up to sum of its parts. The best parts of the story are in the first third, where the astronauts begin to realize that their rogue asteroid isn't wholly natural, and may in fact be home to the remnants of an alien civilization. The struggle between the duty of exploration, the joy of discovery, and the fear of the unknown is handled very well, with the astronauts coming across as both human and professional.

The second third has its moments, particularly in the first reveal of the sentinels and the remnants, but the story just can't sustain matters. As for the final third, it just becomes a jumbled mess that fumbles nearly all of the many of the balls it was juggling. The sheer lack of professionalism at NASA is ludicrous, the almost complete lack-of-reaction to the impact of alien probes is ridiculous, and the blink-and-you'll-miss-it Rapture would be comical, if it wasn't so strained and out-of-place.

It also needs to be said that the portrayal of women in this book is atrocious, and that's not an issue I generally take notice of. They're all weepy, emotional, fragile wrecks who are defined as much by their relationships as their reactions . . . and who, it is suggested, are possibly not fit to be astronauts in the first place. Once you realize it, it makes for a very uncomfortable read.

All-in-all, a novel that begins well, stumbles in trying to find a direction, and ultimately falls face-first in choosing the wrong direction. There's a sequel to come, but no interest here.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth B. Strumpf on August 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I found Heavens Shadow to be a pretty decent page turner, in fact I devoured it in a weekend. Briefly it tells the story of an effort to explore a new Near Earth Object that suddenly appears in the solar system. Two rival groups of astronauts, one US and the other from a rival coalition, race to be the first to land on the object, named Keanu. But rivalry must quickly turn to co-operation when Keanu turns out to be something entirely different from what it seemed to be. In the meantime Mission Control on the ground must deal with communication problems and a host of other issues.

I found the story pretty compelling and the characters mostly well written. A previous reviewer mentioned a tendency to jump around from present to past and this was a bit irritating, but it only happened early in the novel. I had a hard time keeping some of the Mission Control characters straight and the actions of one of the American astronauts (Pogo) were a bit hard to understand. Hence only four stars. But still, Heavens Shadow was an enjoyable read and is recommended.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By michael alexander on July 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You'll probably enjoy this book under two conditions:

(1) You can readily believe that NASA will risk a million-dollar space exploration venture to a group of
"professionals" who sound like teenagers on a camping trip :

("'This is stupid', Natalia announced...")...
("'What's that shiny thing?,' Rachel asked...")....
("That was Patrick. 'This is getting even cooler!")

Anyone who has listened to what astronauts actually sound like when
they're on a mission will have trouble with this.

(2) You don't mind having action sequences constantly interrupted with sudden,
too-long passages into the past that break the momentum of the action and
get you flipping forward to get past the trivial exposition.

Other than that, it's OK.
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