Two ships launch, but only one can come home with the prize - and no one suspects what they'll find when they get out there.
On June 30, 1908, an object fell from the sky, releasing more energy than a thousand Hiroshima bombs. A Siberian forest was flattened, but the strike left no significant crater. The anomaly came to be known as the Tunguska Event, and scientists have never agreed whether it was the largest meteor strike in recorded history - or something else. Alien artifacts have been uncovered since the 1908 event, and a new star drive is discovered. When another larger artifact is detected orbiting Jupiter, both NASA and the Russian Federal Space Agency are determined to beat all rivals to the next treasure trove of alien tech.
©2014 B. V. Larson (P)2015 Audible Inc.
This type of story was different as it felt like a realistic play of events if something like this were to happen. Scrambling of governments, rushing ahead of the others, risking all in the process. It wasn't as flashy as some of the other scifi stories I've listened too but it felt real and sort of left a dark feeling on me. Not in a bad way, just made me wonder if something like this would play out in real life if this ever happened.
I'd like to sort of compare this to the movie contact. But not completely. Its a story about choices and decisions. So for me, it really stands out on its own.
There is a part towards the middle in which scientists face a decision that will affect humanity greatly. When I got to this part, I stopped and wondered what I would do. Even going out and asking others opinions. It was odd, I couldn't even think of a time in which I saw, read, or heard of anything like this before. It really made me think.
Decisions have lasting outcomes.
I'm a huge fan of this writer. Big fan. This story was different and was unique all in its own way. Each character was well created and explained. No one is safe to survive this story as I was shocked a few times. Many times I felt conflicted on what happened. Out of all scifi stores I've come across, this one really left a lasting feeling of how decisions could change everything about humanity. I can't say much without ruining it for anyone reading this but I will say, if you like scifi with a bit of a realistic spin to it, and maybe a bit of cloak and dagger this might be a good one for you. Don't expect space battles or anything like that but it stands alone as a good scifi story. This one is really good. I recommend it.
This book seems like a change for Mr Larson in that it is not military sci fi so there are no armies, battles or starships bristling with weapons (although it is hard to not think that that will change in the sequels). Instead we have both the US and Russian governments trying to get alien technology that was left on Earth about 100 years ago working. Both countries are after technology advances that they believe can be reverse engineered (or gotten in some other mysterious way) from the technology, but the sending of a signal from one of these “artifacts” back to its point of origin generates a race to get to the target spot and find what is there.
This book seems to be a bit unusual in the way the story is presented. While first contact books are fairly common in science fiction, few that I have read have results as horrifyingly bad as in this book. In addition, the characters themselves are a very mixed bunch in terms of the types they represent. While we do have a number of normal, likable people we also have more than just a few characters who are not only unlikable, but actually scary in the sense that it is difficult not to worry about people like these having responsible positions in any large organization or, in this case, government.
This is clearly the first book in a new series as little is resolved by the end of the book, but Mr Larson has given us a fairly well developed sense of who the characters are, what their strengths and weaknesses are and we begin to see the resolving personal relations between them. While I found the writing quite good (as is to be expected from Mr Larson) and the characters well formed and interesting I am not sure I will buy the sequel to this book. The story, while interesting, is not compelling and although it is easy to see what the next book will bring, it was difficult for me to believe that any reasonably intelligent group of people could, or would, make the decisions made by the characters in this book. On the whole, not one of my favorite Larson books. Good, in my opinion, but not great. Perhaps the sequel will be better.
The book is very well narrated by Mr Ballerini.
My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.
EVERYBODY WANTS TO BE PART OF SOMETHING BIG
I made it over six hours and the first three hours seemed a little promising. It just got to the point where I did not care. The mystery that wasn't a mystery was being dragged out too long and to compensate for a dragged out plot, Larson would shoot somebody about every five minutes,usually in the head. There was a lot of politics and conspiracy theories, with the reader not knowing who was who. Even the characters did not know who was who. It was too complicated for my pea brain. It also seemed to be encouraging the thought that all of the United States' inventions came from an alien artifact. This did not help to endure me to the story line. Larson is not Dan Brown.
Not typical Larson.
I would compare Daniel Suarez's Influx to Starfire up to a point (without giving away too much). But there are elements from other recent sci-fi novels that peek through here as well.
I am used to Mark Boyett reading BV Larson books. For the Star Force and Undying Mercenaries series, Boyett made sense. Those series have a lot of action to parse through quickly. Ballerini tends to slow things down a bit, which I think is appropriate for this book. His range is very good, as he portrays female characters very well, and handles a good Russian accent. I've only listened to one book done by Ballerini and I think he's definitely up there with my favorite narrators.
They're already here
Overall, a great book and definitely nothing I expected from Larson. I love Star Force and Undying Mercenaries, so to be honest I was expecting something along those line here. But I was pleasantly surprised to have read something altogether different.
A tough question, given the volume of audiobooks this reviewer has enjoyed over the years. That said, it warrants a thoughtful response. I would rate it in the top 25 %, and towards the top of that category.
It is complicated enough, and with enough twists and authentic characters that it grabs and retains the listener throughout.
The interactions between the Russian and American crews are fascinating, and the ongoing lack of trust, and resulting tensions, was highly entertaining.
I was trying to recall if I had or not, and it appears this was my first exposure, at least in recent times. He definitely owned the characters, was consistent with his accents and tone, and overall was extraordinary. He has moved into my list of top performers just with this one offering.
Nothing extreme, but certainly chuckled a few times, and was shocked by some of the "events" as they unfolded. Kudos to the author to keep the story arc fresh and always interesting.
This is an excellent offering, well produced and fresh. It is also a fine stand alone book, which is not something the listener finds in Sci Fi these days. ( However, the window is open for a sequel , if so desired.)
Highly recommended for many reasons!
I read anything by BV Larson, i dig his style. This was a decent book. Id say the first 2 thirds of the story werent like anything by BV that ive read before, and i liked it. Then in the end classic BV came out. If you like the Star Force series, and a little espionage, read this.
First, I liked the premiss. I enjoyed the first half of the book very much. The later half felt hurried and incomplete. I have read B.V. Larson's Undying Mercenaries series and enjoyed them very much. This novel pales by comparison. Lastly I would recommend this book to a Y.A. audience not a hard sci-fi reader.
BV Larson is a little locked into the thought that mankind will never achieve the stars without alien intervention and technology, but other than that overly explored meme (particularly by his other series) it was very good. It had an element of techno thriller and spy intrigue I had not encountered with his other works. It was very refreshing. With a bit of a sexist bent, all the female characters are helpless and wait for their paired male protagonist to come save them. And of course they only live for the chance to service their hero with a proper thank you. But those scenes are tastefully done and don't distract too much.
Well having bashed for a paragraph I reiterate that it was an enjoyable read and I'll read any sequel BV and company produce in the series.
I literally could not stop listening to this book. The story line, the performance, the pace and the quality, actually surpassed the Mech series in my opinion and the authors talent really shines through.
"A very silly story"
This is laughably implausible, the history and the science are at best iffy. Silly-fiction rather than science-fiction.
"Not his best work"
Slow and lumbering. I finished because I'd started it but definitely didn't keep my interest like his other books.
"Looking forward to the next book"
This was an enjoyable book.
It's worth a listen and I will get the follow up book.
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