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Anvil of Stars Paperback – March 4, 2008

4.0 out of 5 stars 134 customer reviews
Book 2 of 2 in the Forge of God Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A knotty philosophical question--how moral is "eye for an eye" revengesince it's a said to be a 'question' -- preoccupies Bear in this provocative and entertaining follow-up to Forge of God . The earlier book described the destruction of earth by self-replicating roots who wanted to use the planet's mass to create more robotic creatures. Now a small group of human survivors is determined to achieve justice by tracking down the criminal race and destroying their home system. The band of survivors, which includes women and children, have borrowed a starship--called the Ship of the Law and made of "fragments of the Earth's corpse"--from friendly aliens, and with it they scour the universe until they locate the aberrant society and exact revenge. Employing plausible new hard-science concepts, Bear fashions an action-packed and often thrilling plot; by using each of the well-depicted alien races to mirror human behavior, he defines what it means to be Homo sapiens. Bear draws on the full range of his gifts 'top of his form' in another second-drop review here, seamlessly pulling together action since 'plot' so nearly synonymous with 'story' below and characterization to create 'fashion' used above a gripping story.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

One alien culture has destroyed Earth; another, called the Benefactors, has offered the survivors a chance for revenge by building a spaceship for a group of young volunteers whose goal is the extermination of their enemy. Like Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game ( LJ 2/15/85), this sequel to The Forge of God ( LJ 9/15/87) explores the issues of morality and justice, using children as its vehicle. Bear's treatment differs, however, in that his characters have already lost their innocence and face their destiny with open eyes. As a stylist, Bear writes with a heady brilliance that communicates a sense of immediacy and credibility. A good choice for any library's sf collection. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/92.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Orb Books; 1st edition (March 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765318148
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765318145
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #620,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
In Anvil, Bear combines speculations on quantum physics with war-story melodrama, immense ethical quandaries with teen romance, exobiology with whodunit. Yet with all this intellectual weight, the novel proceeds at a brisk and exciting pace.
Anvil picks up where Forge of God left off: the earth has been destroyed by alien machines, and aliens from a different civilization have rescued a small population and resettled them on Mars. From the survivors are drawn adolescents to serve as crew on a Ship of the Law, charged with carrying out a death sentence passed by humanity's benefactors on the race which created the planet-killing machines. Fans of SF writer Orson Scott Card will see many parallels to the Battle School milieu from Ender's Game: youths incongruously training for war under the tutelage of inscrutable teachers.
We join Earth's last children some years into the mission, when they are beginning to draw close to a prime suspect civilization. Bear does not shy away from the titanic moral questions raised by Galactic Law and its harsh retribution, as youths who might otherwise be arguing capital punishment or abortion in Philosophy 101 must weigh the evidence against the suspect civilization. Simultaneously, they must stuggle within the constraints of an alien justice system that has no provision for such human notions as mitigating factors, statutes of limitations, or redemption.
Bear's young protagonists (and antagonists) stand out in the often bland universe of SF characters. The crew has established a unique shipboard society of pseudofamilies and shifting allegiances, a kind of co-ed Lord of the Flies.
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This is the sequel to the book The Forge of God. I rated The Forge of God at 5 stars but this book for me is between a 3 to 4 stars. Part of this second book is brilliant and I enjoyed the imagination of Greg Bear and the science of the Benefactors that he created in his mind. I also enjoyed the creativity and imagination that created the aliens that joined forces with the humans under the guidance of the Benefactors to destroy the Planet Killers. This was truly an alien race that breaks the stereotype of all the past movies and books to present a really unique impression of what a totally alien race might be like. Greg Bear's imagination made that part of the book unique.

The bad part of the book for me was the continuous digression into the lives and personalities of the characters that were young teens and into their early adult hood. At times the story reminded me of a young adult novel except for all of the sexual content of the story. So much time was spent on the relationships and politics that at times the story frankly became boring. The dialog was not well written and it seems to be to just be filler to make the book longer. About 1/2 way through the book I was getting frustrated and I wanted to story to move along faster.

I found the last half of the book finally gained some momentum and got the story back onto the right track. I read Sci-Fi to learn about what people think the future looks like and to use the author's imagination to stimulate my imagination. I don't like chapters of filler that just make the book longer and in many cases drift from the theme of the book. I also am not a major fan of YA books and I felt that in some ways too much of this story had that sort of theme running through the plot.
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By A Customer on November 22, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I was somewhat disappointed with the first book, The Forge of God, in part because it was bound to terra firma, and in part because of the weak political intrigue. Fortunately, Anvil is a different sort of animal; it takes the reader from planet to planet, star system to star system, spinning believable struggle-for-power subplots, with a few red herrings thrown in for good measure.
At times, however, I had a hard time empathizing with some of the characters: the dialogue simply wasn't powerful enough to convey what Bear was trying to get across. There are several of these literary lapses, when a character would break down emotionally, for no apparent reason (i.e., Theresa, while talking to Martin). The effect is there, but not the cause.
These quibbles aside (for Bear can surely write better than this lowly reviewer), Anvil offers believable aliens (David Brinnian, in fact), convincing physics (convincing-sounding, at the very least), cool spaceships, and an appreciation of the grandeur and vastness of space. Some parts remind me of Orson Scott Card's Enders Game.
Very well done and addictive to the end. And oh yes, you don't have to read Forge to follow this book; it's self-contained.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
ANVIL OF STARS is the sequel to THE FORGE OF GOD but is a much different book. A group of human children volunteer (are coerced?) to board a Ship of the Law created by the alien race that saved humanity. Their mission is to seek out and destroy those beings that created the devices that destroyed the Earth.
To make this commentary short - this is a fairly entertaining novel and wrestles with dilemmas similar to those found in Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card). A group of human children are taken away from their parents and environment in which they have grown-up, with no possibility of return. As result Bear is able to explore interesting ways human beings develop and interact in an enclosed environment with minimal social restraints - as well as grapple with life or death issues. From leadership, sexuality, religion, war, xenocide, xenophobia, ethnicity - it's all here. And we get even get to closely encounter another rather interesting race of alien - which is actually the most inventive and interesting part of the novel. The drawback to this book is it is too long. It could have been much tighter and shorter.
Certainly an above average novel, if at a times a bit tedious.
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