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Mass Effect: Revelation (Mass Effect (Paperback)) Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 245 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Mass Effect Series

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Drew Karpyshyn is the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, and several other fantasy and science fiction novels. He is also an award-winning writer/designer for the computer game company BioWare, where he was lead writer on Mass Effect and the popular Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic video game. He lives in Canada’s hinterlands with his loving wife, Jen, and their cat.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


Eight Years Later

Staff Lieutenant David Anderson, executive officer on the SSV Hastings, rolled out of his bunk at the first sound of the alarm. His body moved instinctively, conditioned by years of active service aboard Alliance Systems Space Vessels. By the time his feet hit the floor he was already awake and alert, his mind evaluating the situation.

The alarm rang again, echoing off the hull to rebound throughout the ship. Two short blasts, repeating over and over. A general call to stations. At least they weren’t under immediate attack.

As he pulled his uniform on, Anderson ran through the possible scenarios. The Hastings was a patrol vessel in the Skyllian Verge, an isolated region on the farthest fringes of Alliance space. Their primary purpose was to protect the dozens of human colonies and research outposts scattered across the sector. A general call to stations probably meant they’d spotted an unauthorized vessel in Alliance territory. Either that or they were responding to a distress call. Anderson hoped it was the former.

It wasn’t easy getting dressed in the tight confines of the sleeping quarters he shared with two other crewmen, but he’d had lots of practice. In less than a minute he had his uniform on, his boots secured, and was moving quickly through the narrow corridors toward the bridge, where Captain Belliard would be waiting for him. As the executive officer it fell to Anderson to relay the captain’s orders to the enlisted crew . . . and to make sure those orders were properly carried out.

Space was the most precious resource on any military vessel, and Anderson was constantly reminded of this as he encountered other crewmen heading in the opposite direction as they rushed to their assigned posts. Invariably, they would press themselves against the corridor walls in an effort to let Anderson by, snapping off awkward salutes to their superior as he squeezed past them. But despite the cramped conditions, the entire process was carried out with an efficiency and crisp precision that was the hallmark of every crew in the Alliance fleet.

Anderson was almost at his destination. He was passing navigation, where he noticed a pair of junior officers making rapid calculations and applying them to a three-dimensional star chart projected above their consoles. They each gave their XO a curt but respectful nod as he passed, too engrossed in their duties to be encumbered by the formality of a true salute. Anderson responded with a grim tilt of his head. He could see they were plotting a route through the nearest mass relay. That meant the Hastings was responding to a distress call. And the brutal truth was that more often than not their response came too late.

In the years following the First Contact War, humanity had spread out too far and too fast; they didn’t have enough ships to properly patrol a region the size of the Verge. Settlers who lived out here knew the threat of attacks and raids was all too real, and too often the Hastings touched down on a world only to find a small but thriving colony reduced to corpses, burned-out buildings, and a handful of shell-shocked survivors.

Anderson still hadn’t found a good way to cope with being a firsthand witness to that kind of death and destruction. He’d seen action during the war, but this was different. That had been primarily ship-to-ship warfare, killing enemy combatants from tens of thousands of kilometers away. It wasn’t the same as picking through the charred rubble and blackened bodies of civilians.

The First Contact War, despite its name, had been a short and relatively bloodless campaign. It began an Alliance patrol inadvertently trespassed on the territory of the Turian Empire. For humanity it had been their first encounter with another intelligent species; for the turians it was an invasion by an aggressive and previously unknown race. Misunderstanding and overreaction on both sides had led to several intense battles between patrols and scout fleets. But the conflict never erupted into full-scale planetary war. The escalating hostilities and sudden deployment of turian fleets had drawn the attention of the greater galactic community. Luckily for humanity.

It turned out the turians were only one species among a dozen, each independent but voluntarily united beneath the rule of a governing body known as the Citadel Council. Eager to prevent interstellar war with the newly emerged humans, the Council had intervened, revealing itself to the Alliance and brokering a peaceful resolution between them and the turians. Less than two months after it had begun, the First Contact War was officially over.

Six hundred and twenty-three human lives had been lost. Most of the casualties were sustained in the first encounter and during the turian attack on Shanxi. Turian losses were slightly higher; the Alliance fleet sent to liberate the captured outpost had been ruthless, brutal, and very thorough. But on a galactic scale, the losses to both sides were minor. Humanity had been pulled back from the brink of a potentially devastating war, and instead became the newest member of a vast interstellar, pan-species society.

Anderson climbed the three steps separating the forward deck of the bridge from the main level of the ship. Captain Belliard was hunched over a small viewscreen, studying a stream of incoming transmissions. He stood up straight as Anderson approached, and returned his executive officer’s salute with one of his own.

“We’ve got trouble, Lieutenant. We picked up a distress call when we linked up to the com relays,” the captain explained by way of greeting.

“I was afraid of that, sir.”

“It came from Sidon.”

“Sidon?” Anderson recognized the name. “Don’t we have a research base there?”

Belliard nodded. “A small one. Fifteen security personnel, twelve researchers, six support staff.”

Anderson frowned. This was no ordinary attack. Raiders preferred to hit defenseless settlements and bug out before Alliance reinforcements arrived on the scene. A well-defended base like Sidon wasn’t their typical target. It felt more like an act of war.

The turians were allies of the Human Systems Alliance now, at least officially. And the Skyllian Verge was too far removed from turian territory for them to get involved in any conflicts out here. But there were other species vying with humanity for control of the region. The Alliance was in direct competition with the batarian government to establish a presence in the Verge, but so far the two rival species had managed to avoid any real violence in their confrontations. Anderson doubted they’d start with something like this.

Still, there were plenty of other groups out there with the means and motive to hit an Alliance stronghold. Some of them were even made up of humans: nonaffiliated terrorist organizations and multispecies guerrilla factions eager to strike a blow against the powers-that-be; illegal paramilitary troops looking to stock up on high-grade weapons; independent mercenary bands hoping for one big score.

“Might be helpful to know what Sidon was working on, Captain,” Anderson suggested.

“They’re a top-security-clearance facility,” the captain replied with a shake of his head. “I can’t even get schematics for the base, never mind get anyone to tell me what they were working on.”

Anderson frowned. Without schematics his team would be going in blind, giving up any tactical advantage they might have had from knowing the layout of the battleground. This mission just kept getting better and better.

“What’s our ETA, sir?”

“Forty-six minutes.”

Finally some good news. The Hastings followed random patrol routes; it was pure chance they happened to be this close to the source of the distress call. With luck they could still get there in time.

“I’ll have the ground team ready, Captain.”

“You always do, Lieutenant.”

Anderson turned to go, acknowledging his commanding officer’s compliment with a simple, “Aye-aye, sir!”

In the black void of space the Hastings was all but invisible to the naked eye. Surrounded by a self-generated mass effect field and traveling nearly fifty times faster than the speed of light, it was little more than a flickering blur, a slight wavering in the fabric of the space-time continuum.

The vessel altered its flight path as the helmsman made a quick course correction, a minor adjustment to the trajectory that sent the ship hurtling toward the nearest mass relay, nearly five billion kilometers away. At a speed of nearly fifteen million kilometers per second it didn’t take long before their destination was in range.

Ten thousand kilometers out from their target, the helmsman took the element-zero drive core off-line, disengaging the mass effect fields. Blue-shifted energy waves radiated off the ship as it dropped out of FTL, igniting the darkness of space like a flare. The illumination of the blazing ship reflected off the mass relay growing steadily larger on the horizon. Although completely alien in design, the construction closely resembled an enormous gyroscope. At its center was a sphere made up of two concentric rings spinning around a single axis. Each ring was nearly five kilometers across, and two fifteen-kilometer arms protruded out from one end of the constantly rotating middle. The entire structure sparkled and flashed with white bursts of crackling energy.

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Product Details

  • Series: Mass Effect (Paperback)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; Mti edition (May 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034549816X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345498168
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (245 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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I was interested in reading this novel since I planned on getting the game(whenever it finally gets released) as I'm sure most people are who are reading this review.It's good reading as far as getting a feel for the setting of the game and the universe it describes..Obviously,the main storyline is going to lead into the game but it's really pretty generic sc-fi when it comes right down to it...Lots of standard sci-fi cliches abound..The author knows his stuff but it reads a lot like a cheap Star Trek novel from the 90's with bare bones descriptions and thin characters.The only exception is Saren,who I assume is going to be the main antagonist in the game..He is an interesting character who you want to learn more about but really never do.Also,I would have liked a little more background on the alien races of the Citadel and their history...One weak point is that the aliens never seem like they are ALIENS.They are written the same as the human characters and you never get any hint of alien viewpoints, cultures or history in their dialog.Overall this is a good read to get prepared for the game,but it may not be something that's going to stick with you if you are a serious sci-fi reader.Also be aware that this novel ends on a cliffhanger and from what I've heard from the author there will be a sequel at some point.
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Let me start by saying that I rarely read free reading books, ever. I had been following some of the development of the Mass Effect game online, and became very interested in the fiction and background of the main story, and the universe that was created around it (and I don't even own an Xbox 360!). After reading an article that Mass Effect Revelation book was about to be released, I decided I would give it a chance.

Although it was a short read (over the course of a weekend), this book not only delivers a great storyline and lead-in to a what looks to be an amazing Xbox 360 game, but reveals a whole history of the Human race joining the ranks of other space-faring species in a not-so-distant future (about 150 years). Future technologies are well detailed, interesting and fun to read about, and are slid into the story at just the right time - this occurring throughout the entire course of the book. Not to mention the witty references made to our own world's current state of affairs.

If you are looking for a quick, but great read, you have found it here. The background of this universe is wonderfully detailed, and Karpyshyn's writing style (not to intentionally sound cliché) kept me turning page after page. I really hope we could get some sort of follow-up novel from Karpyshyn, as it would be a horrible waste to not continue the wonderful depth, scope and insight of the Mass Effect universe. Any other story about the shadowy, deadly efficient, and not always lawful Spectre special unit would prove to be another great novel. As best described online, the Mass Effect universe and story is truly like Jack Bauer in space...this absolutely includes Revelations.

A great book, a great read - I highly recommend picking this one up!
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The year is 2165 and it has been around 20 years since mankind has been an interstellar travelling species. They were not able to achieve this on their own. In 2148, an ancient alien research lab was found under the surface of Mars. It's mysterious makers, an alien race called the Protheans, vanished 50,000 years ago without a trace except for their technology they left behind. Not long after that, "mass relays" are found, a series of warp gates which allow spaceships to pass through and cover vast distances across the universe almost instantaneously. Humanity begins to spread out across space, using Prothean terraforming tecnology to make planets habitable. But they find they are not alone out there as other alien races have also stumbled across the Prothean technology over the centuries and have carved out their own territories unbeknownst to Earth. After a short war with one of these alien races, the Turian Empire, we find out that the main alien species in the universe are led by a United Nations-like "Citadel Council" that tries to keep the peace between all the different factions. Humans are the littlest and youngest kid on the block so we'll have to struggle for some sort of edge when it comes to our interests, forming "The Systems Alliance" to represent all humanity both politically and militarily. It is within this tense atmosphere that a secret Alliance military research facility is attacked and destroyed on the outlying border of human controlled space. David Anderson, an Alliance war hero, is sent to investigate the facility and also to track down the only known survivor of the attack, Kahlee Sanders. The Alliance wants to find out if she was the traitor that let the attackers get through the almost impregnable defenses of the base.Read more ›
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Humanity had no idea how far behind the rest of the sentient galaxy they were until they discovered a Prothean cache on Mars that sent modern technology spiraling into the now. Within the cache they found documentation about about a Mass Relay just beyond Pluto that granted them access to areas of the galaxy they’d been unable to explore prior due to lacking knowledge. The first team to pass through the Mass Relay became instant heroes upon their return, and within a matter of years humanity soared through the stars, colonizing every available planet they could land their ships on. Until they met with the militant Turians and the First Contact War made a hero out of a young soldier named David Anderson.

Eight years after the First Contact War, Anderson finds himself drawn to investigate a distress signal from a top secret, Alliance research facility. Anderson doesn’t know what they were researching, but the place is a slaughterhouse when he and his team arrive. Barely escaping with their lives, Anderson is called upon to track down the one person the Alliance believes may have escaped before the facility was destroyed–scientist Kahlee Sanders. Sanders quickly becomes the prime suspect, and the Alliance wants Anderson to track her down before and bring her in before the Galactic Council sends one of their Spectre agents after her.

If the council discovers what humanity’s been researching, it’ll wreak havoc on intergalactic relations, but embittered Spectre Saren Arterius is already hot on the trail, and he’ll stop at nothing to get what he wants.

My skepticism about these books was quickly shattered.
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