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Stealing Light: Shoal, Book 1 | [Gary Gibson]

Stealing Light: Shoal, Book 1

In the 25th century, only the Shoal possess the secret of faster-than-light travel (FTL), giving them absolute control over all trade and exploration throughout the galaxy. Mankind has operated within their influence for two centuries, establishing a dozen human colony worlds scattered along Shoal trade routes. Dakota Merrick, while serving as a military pilot, has witnessed atrocities for which this alien race is responsible.
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Publisher's Summary

In the 25th century, only the Shoal possess the secret of faster-than-light travel (FTL), giving them absolute control over all trade and exploration throughout the galaxy. Mankind has operated within their influence for two centuries, establishing a dozen human colony worlds scattered along Shoal trade routes.

Dakota Merrick, while serving as a military pilot, has witnessed atrocities for which this alien race is responsible. Now piloting a civilian cargo ship, she is currently ferrying an exploration team to a star system containing a derelict star ship. From its wreckage, her passengers hope to salvage a functioning FTL drive of mysteriously non-Shoal origin. But the Shoal are not yet ready to relinquish their monopoly over a technology they acquired through ancient genocide.

©2012 Gary Gibson (P)2012 Audible Ltd

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (162 )
5 star
 (37)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.7 (143 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
3.9 (142 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    C. Hartmann D.C. & St. Croix 08-13-12
    C. Hartmann D.C. & St. Croix 08-13-12

    Sci-fi, History, Police Procedurals and Science

    HELPFUL VOTES
    465
    ratings
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    45
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    Story
    "Cool character & plot ! Do you like Chase Colpath?"

    Smart tough female lead character. Fairly hard sci-fi. I always wonder, with the great success of Jack McDevitt's character Chase Kolpath and Weber's Honor Harrington, why there aren't more tough female leads in sci-fi. Look at what Neal Stephenson has been able to do at times. I'm also a sucker for great narration. I haven't heard Charlie Norfolk narrate before -- but what a great talent. This starts in three plots that come together....and when they do it is a real fast ride.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer albia, IA, United States 05-29-13
    Amazon Customer albia, IA, United States 05-29-13 Member Since 2014

    I don't add a lot of reviews . But when I do ..... you know its good enough for me to take time to say wow .

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "slow..............................."

    the books sounds ok . it looks ok but iv tried 3 time i have never gotten past part one.
    it never got my attention and i just gave up on it . not worth my credit

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas Clovis, CA, United States 10-04-12
    Douglas Clovis, CA, United States 10-04-12 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    165
    ratings
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    81
    36
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    Story
    "Very Entertaining-Will buy the rest of the series"

    This one starts a little slow, but hang in there. Ms. Norfolk's accent takes about 15 minutes to get used to, then she is an easy listen. The story is first rate hard science fiction with very good characterization and an amazingly interesting and complex plot line. All kinds of fun Perils of Pauline moments, which you know will generally turn out well, but not quite the way you expected. I am going to take a break and listen to Weber's latest turgidity in the Safehold series. I am sure he will drive me back to the Gibson/Norfolk team for clean, clear, directed characters, plots, and interesting speculative science and history.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. L. Turner 08-14-12 Member Since 2011

    Tutivillus

    HELPFUL VOTES
    45
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    32
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    Story
    "Fun, entertaining, something borrowed."

    This is a good story that has definitely borrowed from classics like Ringworld. Definitely worth a listen and very enjoyable. It has some good originality, so don't worry, it's not a re-hash of old material.

    There is a down side. The narrator, while quite good! Gets a bit confused with names every once in a while and mixes one character with another. This is a problem...but does not cause too many problems in the end if you're paying attention.

    Now the fun part, accents, characters, language and personalities. This novel builds on more to come (a lot more), so stay tuned!

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard FOXBORO, MA, United States 05-24-13
    Richard FOXBORO, MA, United States 05-24-13 Member Since 2012

    A good way to get through the work day.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    88
    ratings
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    Story
    "Not sure at first, but well worth it."

    Wasn't sure what I was getting into when I first got this book, but I soon found out it was well worth the purchase. First and foremost this book has a very good plot. But along with that the story is very well written and grabs your attention.

    The reader does a good but not great job telling the story.

    The story really heats up at about the mid point until the end. By the end of this I knew I would be getting the next book in the series.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Winter Park, FL, United States 03-11-13
    William Winter Park, FL, United States 03-11-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Fun!"

    Stealing Light by Gary Gibson is the first book in The Shoal series. This book is my kind of book. I consumed it eagerly via Audible. Yes, it has it's faults as many other reviewers have noted, but due to the excellent reader (Charlie Norfolk), the book came alive and the faults fall quickly to the background.

    It was fun and full of action. It is like an Alastair Reynolds Revelation Space, Jack McDevitt's Alex Benedict and Kristine Kathryn Rusch's Diving Universe book combined!

    Highly recommended as an Audiobook listen!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    crazybatcow East Coast, Canada 11-14-14
    crazybatcow East Coast, Canada 11-14-14 Member Since 2015

    I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2087
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    "Just not good or distinct enough to compete"

    It's a moderately hard sci-fi... not much time is spent developing relationships or on character development. In fact, so little time is spent on characterization that it is very difficult to tell most of the main male characters apart. (There is only one female character so nobody to get her mixed up with, but she isn't even very different from the males...)

    There are some alien life-forms, but they aren't really explored very much, other than brief interjections when they are the stimulant to cause the humans to do something... when their interventions are needed to motivate a character, they appear, then they conveniently drop out of the story until next time they are needed.

    I didn't like the story very much, nor the characters, and even the sci-fi part of it wasn't very engaging or original. And some parts seemed choppy, almost like the book was abridged - occasionally the transitions were sudden and unexpected. I won't be reading any more in this series, and it is unlikely I'd read more by this author... his writing just isn't distinct enough to choose over all the other books out there.

    The narration is okay. It is non-graphic and I don't think there is any swearing.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Connor 05-18-14
    Connor 05-18-14 Member Since 2011

    Enjoy the adventure

    HELPFUL VOTES
    221
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    "A Long Time Getting to the Point"

    This is the story of a tough, independent woman making her living in the 25th Century as a space ship pilot. She may have broken a few laws and now must accept questionable jobs from shady people. The 25th Century technology is excellent and the last third of the book is riveting. My complaint was the other 70% of the book. My mind kept wandering and I could not decide if it was me or the book.

    Overall, the book's beginning and middle are slow and somewhat confusing while the ending is a fun listen.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Tipling 05-17-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Does not track"
    What disappointed you about Stealing Light: Shoal, Book 1?

    the multiple time jumps and non consistent time indexes.


    What could Gary Gibson have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Used a standard calander.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Charlie Norfolk?

    Was not Narrator problem


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Stealing Light: Shoal, Book 1?

    Would not cut but would fix timing for listening audience.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SciFi Kindle Cheshire, CT USA 01-29-14
    SciFi Kindle Cheshire, CT USA 01-29-14 Member Since 2013

    I'm a Hard SF & Space Opera-loving, alien android from the future. I bring gifts of SciFi eBooks & accessories for your leader's Kindle. Take me to him/her/it.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    91
    ratings
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    "A slow, but promising start"

    Beholden to a star-faring alien race called The Shoal for all of it's interstellar transport, humanity finds itself divided and perpetually powerless in the galactic community of Gibson's story. When a derelict ship of unknown but ancient origin is discovered, opportunists race to exploit it's secrets for humanity's "Escape", but wrapped up in the same technology that makes transluminal travel possible is a dark secret that The Shoal is determined to preserve. The protagonist, Dakota Merrick, is a fiercely independent pilot, and works to uncover the truth while being coerced into helping an ambitious politician claim the prize. I enjoyed the final chapters of climax and plot revelation, although it seemed a long slow narrative road to get there, with frequent moments of déjà vu dialog. However, knowing this is the first part of a trilogy of stories, I am optimistic that the subsequent stories will open up onto a vaster canvas of settings and characters, and with any luck, explore the Shoal and other alien races more closely.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Paul McCulloch
    8/16/12
    Overall
    "Great book from Shoal Series"

    Love the way book changed timeline and the different dimensions of the characters, looking forward to audible adding Nova War and Empire of Light soon

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    United Kingdom
    9/22/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent New Sci Fi"

    As a huge fan of Peter Hamilton and Alastair Reynolds I am always on the search for quality "reads" - I think that Gibson has really got something in these novels.

    When I first started I found references that would have been very at home in a Niven Universe (not a bad thing in itself). However, as the story progressed it was obvious that this is anything but the formulaic space opera based on other work.

    The main plot is both grand and intricate, the background that is created feels unique and central characters are very good and well rounded. I did find some of the "baddies" a little one dimensional in that they seemed bad / stupid to the bone which I never like. However, that is actually a minor point. This is an excellent story well written, exciting and captivating.

    Performance was good and very easy to listen too which is very important in a story is to flow nicely.

    Highly recommended.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • W. Taylor
    Stourbridge, West Midlands United Kingdom
    9/13/12
    Overall
    "Stealing Light maybe, earning a fan, definitely"

    I was absolutely sucked into the characters and universe of this novel. The hours flew by and I was looking forward to every car journey for the 10 days the story lasted me. The narration I found very natural and the challenge of a reasonably large character list including voicing an alien's speech was professionally met. Seeing this narrator's name on an audio's details would always be a welcome sign for me now. The novel itself had a number of original ideas plus a few classic Sci Fi concepts and at times reminded me as much of Altered Carbon as The Mote in God's Eye without being at all derivative. I see that the next book is now available and I will without a doubt be treating myself to it next month. I wholeheartedly recommend this one, go on, give it a go!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    Banchory, United Kingdom
    9/1/12
    Overall
    "Likeable Listen"

    While I was not exactly enthralled by this listen, it was quite inventive and sufficently interesting and well read to want to buy the next one.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • M
    Wakefield, United Kingdom
    1/7/13
    Overall
    "Very enjoyable."

    This was a wonderful 15 hours of pure audiobook escapism, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There's plenty of action, and the twists and turns in the plot keep the characters on their toes. The writing is fairly straight forward but Charlie Norfolk narrates it wonderfully and got me totally hooked so I'll definitely be carrying on with the trilogy. Great stuff!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • PatM
    Marlow UK
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "Very Enjoyable"

    This is the first time i have listened to a female narrator, her voice for the main character is great however i wasn't so sure about her other voices. Though after the first hour I was immersed in the story and started enjoying the narration style. Now I can't imagine anyone else narrating. Stealing Light is a rip-roaring good space opera and thouroghly enjoyable. I was going on longer walks and couldn't wait to do some ironing just to continue listening! I am so pleased to have the second installment of the series to listen to whilst doing all the Christmas baking!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • F
    Rijswijk, Netherlands
    10/7/12
    Overall
    "decent leastening"

    A very good set of sci-fi elements. Unfulfilled potential for an epic story. Not enough depth. Some parts of the plot not very "convincing".

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. K. A. Knowles
    Manchester, UK
    7/24/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good collection of Sci-fi ideas, nicely executed"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Stealing Light: Shoal, Book 1 to be better than the print version?

    I haven't read the print version, however found the manner and character distinction of the narrator (Charlie) very engaging.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The lead character Dakota is thoroughly likeable and the narrative delves into the human psyche, taps our self loathing nature, our insignificance and inability to deal with past failings.


    What does Charlie Norfolk bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Found the manner and character distinction of the narrator (Charlie) very engaging.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Not initially, however very quickly the story unfolded leaving me feeling like I needed more. Put it this way, I didn't hesitate in purchasing the second (and third!) in the series.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • paul
    1/19/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It's a space soap (opera)"

    My daily read is while commuting in the car, so through experience worked out that this needs something 1) long (2 hours each way) 2) Not too complex as you can't concentrate while driving 3) Engaging enough to survive the first two requirements.

    On that front the fits the bill perfectly. It's space opera scifi, a little simplistic and not altogether rooted in true hard science, but it's fun and undemanding, with an interesting core character (Dakota). Is it top class scifi, a la Reynolds or the old masters? No, it isn't. But it's perfect for a little trashy escapism, and it's plus points counter the flaws. I have the other two books already to brighten up the dark winter drives

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    Southampton, United Kingdom
    3/3/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "High concept hard SF"

    Beautifully performed with characters very clearly realised, this is well written with some stand out concepts that are well worth the read just for those.

    It is well paced with a plot that moves along quite nicely and strong characterisation helped by an excellent reading. For me, the plot was a little less polished than the writing or the characterisation but is is streets ahead of so much that I have read.

    It is always invidious to compare authors but I couldn't help thinking of Iain M Banks when I listened to this story. It is similar in that it is high tech, high concept SF with a widely spaced and varied humanity scattered over star systems. However, Gibson has a voice of his own.

    Charlie Norfolk did an outstanding job of bringing this to life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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