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House of Suns [Kindle Edition]

Alastair Reynolds
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $8.99
Kindle Price: $7.69
You Save: $1.30 (14%)
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

Six million years ago, at the dawn of the star-faring era, Abigail Gentian fractured herself into a thousand male and female clones, which she called shatterlings. But now, someone is eliminating the Gentian line. Campion and Purslane-two shatterlings who have fallen in love and shared forbidden experiences-must determine exactly who, or what, their enemy is, before they are wiped out of existence.




Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Reynolds (The Prefect) returns to the universe of his 2005 novella Thousandth Night in this sprawling novel of intergalactic intrigue. It is 6.4 million years in the future and humanity has spread throughout the Milky Way. Some cultures have established transient empires across space; others, the Lines, have used relativistic travel to colonize deep time. Clone-siblings Campion and Purslane are delayed on their way to a Gentian Line reunion, a coincidence that saves them from a massacre. Allied with potentially hostile Machine People and an enigmatic post-human god called the Spirit, armed only with fragmentary records and hints that Campion's research provoked the mysterious House of Suns, the Gentian survivors struggle to find and stop their enemies before the genocide can be completed. Intriguing ideas and competent characterization make this a fine example of grand-scale relativistic space opera. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"A crisper style that recalls hard SF from the '60s and '70s. This nod to the past seems fresh and new." -- Dave Golder, BBC FOCUS

"A splendid example of SF as the literature of ideas, and depsite its longueurs is another triumph for Reynolds." -- Jes Bickham, DEATHRAY

"His writing is solid, his characterisation intriguing; a fine entry for Reynolds." -- SCi FI NOW

"Reynolds has written a hugely entertaining extrapolation of contemporary mores: a far-flung comedy of manners, with fascinating precedents. This is warm hearted science fiction with big ideas that are easy to follow. House of Suns might well be the author's most human novel to date." -- INTERZONE

"Reynolds retains a highly readable style which allows him to dip into solid technology without losing the pace and he fleshes out a convincing background to his world." -- Anthony Brown, STARBURST

"Reynolds understands and uses hard science, giving an aura of plausibility to his wildest flights of fancy. As well as visionary brilliance, Reynolds also supplies a knock-your-socks-off ending. A thrilling, mind-boggling adventure."

-- Lisa Tuttle, THE TIMES

"The book's final revelations are near perfectly judged. Ultimately it's this that gives his novel real heart and soul - an infinitely rarer commodity than any amount of self-consciously insouciant cool." -- Jonathan Wright, SFX

'Reynolds injects a good old fashioned sense of wonder into his science fiction by combining a story of epic scale with a series of awe-inspiring revelations, each more breathtaking than the last. The finale is thrilling, moving and humane. This is Reynolds' best novel to date." -- Eric Brown, THE GUARDIAN


Product Details

  • File Size: 917 KB
  • Print Length: 516 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0575082372
  • Publisher: Ace (June 2, 2009)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002AKPECW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,650 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
102 of 110 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
After 2 brilliant novels at the beginning of his career - Revelation Space and Chasm City, Mr. Reynolds' novels became either incomplete or just showing flashes of brilliance combined with lots of forget it run of the mill action. The short stories and novellas showed an extraordinary brilliance though and I've wondered if he would ever write a novel commensurate with them

House of Suns is that novel - epic space opera on a large scale but with characters you can identify with, hard sf based on the current understanding of the limits of science and a touch of fantasy and romance to complete it.

Based on the Thousandth Night novella published in the 1M AD anthology, with the same universe and characters, though different action, the story takes place in a mostly human dominated Galaxy 6M years in the future, with everything allowed except causality busting - so no ftl - moving planets out of danger, Dyson spheres, cloning, intelligent robots, immortality, matter replicators, damming stars - anything conceivable today that stays within the limits of our physical understanding of the Universe is there.

Civilizations rise and fall, but towering over them are the Lines, groupings of originally 1000 immortal shatterlings though in time some are lost to attrition - all clones of a single person to start with - that have the most advanced ships, tech, and go on Circuits around the Galaxy, meeting once every 200k years to mix their memories.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good epic science fiction June 3, 2008
Format:Hardcover
There aren't too many authors that do epic science fiction well and Alastair Reynolds is certainly one of them. You can't get much more epic than this. Six million years in the future and spanning the whole galaxy. Quite a departure from the "Revelation Space" universe.

There is no warp drive in this universe though. You only stay youthful by means of relativistic time dilation and a type of stasis that slows the passage of time. There is still plenty of awe inspiring technology however.

The main characters are the "shatterlings" who started out as clones of various family lines at the start of the star faring age. We are mainly concerned with the "Gentian" Line whose originator was Abigail Gentian whose own story is told in a series of interludes. Each line started with 1000 clones and their mission has been to circle the galaxy doing various good works and trading with the sometimes highly modified human civilizations that have grown up along the way. After every galactic circuit the shatterlings of each line meet to share their experiences.

Campion and Purslane are two of the Gentian line who have become romantically involved which is not the done thing with shatterlings. At the start of the story they are on their way to the latest reunion where they expect to be censured for violating line protocol. They have also picked up a mysterious robot passenger called Hesperus. A distress call is received: most of the Gentian line has been wiped out by an attack on the reunion. The survivors, together with Campion and Purslane regroup on another planet where they try to understand what has happened. The resolution reveals some unpleasant truths that have previously been suppressed from everyone's collective memory.
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50 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly ambitious, but it works May 22, 2008
Format:Hardcover
Publishing's a funny old business. Reynolds' magnum opus, "House of Suns" has only just come out in hardback in both the UK and the US, but I found a paperback copy at Singapore Airport last Saturday. I hesitated for a moment - this is a big book: did I really want to lug it around the world? - but only for a moment.

One of the age old problems in science fiction is that of the speed of light. How can one write a decent space opera, with exotic starships visiting improbable planets, without violating the speed limit? Reynolds decides to stick with relativistic limitations (well, mostly) by playing with the other side of the equation: time. The result is an extraordinary mystery story at galactic scale, in which (for a few travellers) time is measured in thousands, even millions of years.

"House of Suns" is an audacious work. I've enjoyed all of Reynolds' earlier books: even though the stories were more conventional than, say, those of Iain M. Banks, Reynolds confident mastery of his material has been undeniable. In the new book, he takes quite a few risks, and gets away with them. The conclusion... well, my first reaction was confusion, but I found myself realizing how utterly apposite it was.

Comparison between writers is invidious, but inevitable. Right now, two of the best science fiction writers are British: Banks and Reynolds. Before "House of Suns", I would have said that Banks was clearly the greater talent. Now, I'm not so sure. What fun!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad June 10, 2009
Format:Paperback
House of Suns is an enjoyable read. But I can't help but feel various earlier works exceed it (Revelation Space, Chasm City, The Prefect, etc...). I suppose it is always hardest to compete against yourself.

(spoilers)

I have a few points in mind. The whole Palacial backstory that fills pages and pages. I kept waiting for it to somehow be integrated into the main story in some meaningful way. It never happened. Why was it there? And then the whole point that one of the shatterlings is indeed not a clone at all. But... we never hear which one. And as some reviewers pointed out, there are moments where you get the impression that the author is trying to engender some feeling of awe and grandeur and... doesn't.
All is not mediocre though. I enjoyed the whole meeting with Hesperus, and the ambush and all that.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay, not his best work
I prefer his other books. Alastair Reynolds is a decent writer, and great at incorporating science into his work. Read more
Published 10 days ago by A Reviewer
5.0 out of 5 stars Best space opera ever
Best space opera Ive ever read. So cool.
Published 13 days ago by John
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Space Opera
I enjoyed it - great airplane reading, but I didn't think it was one of his best.
Published 1 month ago by J. Marano
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
strong character development with wonderful technical invention and extension, a great read
Published 1 month ago by Roger W Sutro
5.0 out of 5 stars one of his best books.
Wow, one of his best books.
Published 1 month ago by Franz Sileno
5.0 out of 5 stars great hard SF space opera with good characters
This is a longer read than I normally commit to, but I was thoroughly engaged through the entire story. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Guy Marsden
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book!
Published 2 months ago by Carmen
5.0 out of 5 stars Skipping Across Space-Time
In the far future, Campion and Purslane are members of Gentian Line. Members of Lines flit through the galaxy (and the intervening years, because even in the far future... Read more
Published 2 months ago by themarsman
3.0 out of 5 stars Victorian Style SciFi Mystery
Presentation is a bit dry and slow paced. But story logic is well constructed and consistent with occasional bits of current science theory as anchor points without becoming too... Read more
Published 2 months ago by CJF
5.0 out of 5 stars great read!
Very nicely written, fast and entertaining SF. Up to the expected quality from this outstanding author. Well done again, AR!
Published 3 months ago by Garry Gold
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More About the Author

Alastair Reynolds was born in Wales in 1966. He has a Ph.D. in astronomy. From 1991 until 2007, he lived in The Netherlands, where he was employed by The European Space Agency as an astrophysicist. He is now a full-time writer.

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The palatial storyline never seemed finished. (spoilers)
Yes the connection between the early Abigail story and the far future one seems a bit underdeveloped. The palatial story wasn't finished (after so much preamble!) and even though they explained in the end that Abigail was one of the clones and I had the feeling it would be Purslane (because of... Read More
Sep 10, 2012 by Holygrail |  See all 3 posts
Book Cost
It's now $65 for a NEW copy. I've never seen this kind of pricing before.
Mar 11, 2009 by P. Wilson |  See all 4 posts
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