Author of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, one of the most acclaimed fantasy series of all time, master storyteller Stephen R. Donaldson returns with this exciting and long-awaited new series that takes us into a stunningly imagined future to tell a timeless story of adventure and the implacable conflict of good and evil within each of us.
Angus Thermopyle was an ore pirate and a murderer; even the most disreputable asteroid pilots of Delta Sector stayed locked out of his way. Those who didn't ended up in the lockup - or dead. But when Thermopyle arrived at Mallory's Bar & Sleep with a gorgeous woman by his side, the regulars had to take notice. Her name was Morn Hyland, and she had been a police officer - until she met up with Thermopyle.
But one person in Mallorys Bar wasn't intimidated. Nick Succorso had his own reputation as a bold pirate and he had a sleek frigate fitted for deep space. Everyone knew that Thermopyle and Succorso were on a collision course. What nobody expected was how quickly it would be over - or how devastating victory would be. It was common enough example of rivalry and revenge - or so everyone thought. The REAL story was something entirely different.
In The Real Story, Stephen R. Donaldson takes us to a remarkably detailed world of faster-than-light travel, politics, betrayal, and a shadowy presence just outside our view to tell the fiercest, most profound story he has ever written.
©1991 Stephen R. Donaldson (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
I'll preface my review by saying I haven't read the rest of the series yet, but I'll be purchasing book two right after I submit this review.
This is a very raw and gritty story. It's not a pretty one either. If you've read Stephen R. Donaldson before, see Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, you'll know he doesn't shy away from uncomfortable topics. Rape, physical and mental torment, and questioning the grey area sanity are all things he exposes the reader to and this "short" novel contains them all.
You won't feel comfortable listening to portions of this book but I do think you will come to the same conclusion I have. If this book's quality is indicative of the series to come I think you're going to be in for a great ride.
Scott Brick's narration as always was great, no complaints there.
The Real Story starts with the patrons of a bar experiencing something that doesn't make sense. Angus Thermpylae walks into the bar with a beautiful woman at his side. Angus is an evil man and a suspected pirate/smuggler with a reputation for being a loner. The young attractive woman at his side is Morn Hyland, a law enforcement officer who should want nothing to do with someone like Angus. It is obvious to many of the patrons that she is a captive of some sort but she doesn't seem to be acting like one. Enter the dashing Nick Succorso, who confronts Angus and appears to rescue Morn away from him. The patrons of the bar then speculate on what they just witnessed and it is clear to many that this is a classic case of a hero (Nick) rescuing a victim (Morn) from an evil villain (Angus.) While that is indeed true, it is also not "The Real Story."
Donaldson wrote this novella because he wanted to take the classic character triangle of hero, victim, and villain and have his characters switch roles as the story progresses. And while this is the case in "The Real Story" what happens is actually far more complicated than that. As is typical of Donaldson, he weaves uncomfortable subject matter into his story and grabs your attention with it. In The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever he offered up the subjects of rape, leprosy, and possession and forced the reader to be conflicted by manipulating them into rooting for an undeserving anti-hero. In The Real Story the subject matter is even more uncomfortable and all of the main characters are deeply flawed.
In Donaldson's future there is a psychosis known as Gap Sickness. After an interstellar craft uses hyper-space to cross "The Gap" on rare occasions a member of the crew may start to commit despicable atrocities. This illness can cause a person to do violence to themselves, attack or kill other members of the crew, or even to destroy the ship itself. Gap Sickness is incurable and unpredictable and the only solution to the problem is to insert a "zone implant" into the affected person. Such an implant allows the individual to be remotely controlled in order to prevent them from being a threat to themselves and the rest of the crew. Due to the nature of the technology misuse of such an implant is classified as a capital crime and punishable by death. This is the stage upon which The Real Story unfolds.
Without spoiling too much suffice it to say that all 3 of the main characters in this tale are deeply flawed and despite the disturbing nature of how they treat each other I found myself eager to continue reading. I aligned with none of the characters but still needed to know how it was all going to play out. It seemed that Donaldson had once again grabbed my attention with subject matter I could do without. Is it like slowing down to view a traffic accident or watching footage of a disaster on the news? Perhaps but the tale was interesting enough for me to pick up the second book after I was done with this one so I could see what happens next. This is a short story and complete in nature, but as the first book of a series it did leave me wanting to know more.
Scott Brick is a well known narrator and he and Donaldson often team up together. Scott's narration on The Real Story is solid as usual and he remains the narrator for all 5 books of The Gap Cycle so the entire series is in good hands.
Wow. The entire book is about sexual abuse of a lady police officer by a coward. Something seriously wrong with the author. Graphic descriptions of sexual abuse and assault is all over. Just because it happens in space, this is a sci-fi novel. Don't waste your credit on this garbage. Scott Brick as usual does a good job. But garbage is garbage even if it was read by Scott Brick.
This is an interesting story: it goes beyond the common plots and ideas of sci-fi: alien race invades earth, or youth struggles to survive in a post apocalyptic dystopia, etc. He introduces three main characters and weaves them together in a deranged mixture of treachery, avarice and corruption that slowly changes over the course of the series: he teaches that appearances can be very, very deceiving.
Donaldson grabs you and then hurls you deeply into the twisted and damaged souls of his characters.
I love it...but it got to be just too much: too much angst, too much navel gazing, too much self recrimination; it almost became like a soap opera: a really deep soap opera, yes...but still....
Scott Brick did a great job at narrating; he captured the emotions so well, that I actually got tired just listening to two of the books...not bored by any means: just tired. I still would recommend the book for a sci fi lover: but if you have read the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, then you might know what I'm talking about.
I can't believe I missed this five part series. But, to be honest, its likely because I didn't want to pay the price for a six hour Book-1. Maybe I've learned a lesson about quality versus quantity (or maybe the price for the 1st book should have been discounted more).
I would compare this story to the Dune series. Maybe this because Scott Brick also narrated the Dune series; but, the writing style is also similar.
I already know I'll listen to the whole series.
the unabridged version is as good as, or better than the print version.
The conflict of Angus and Nick at the space station canteena, the secret message and instruction to Morn.
Yes, and I feel this is one of his signature performanes. I look forward to more programs read by Scott Brick.
The Gritty Reality of Humans in Space
I read the book back in the early nineties and had hoped there would be more stories to follow. This is an adult adventure that Disney cannot touch, I hope they don't touch. The only way to have this story made into any visual narration, would be to have the Japanese anime masters develope a series. (See Ghost in the Shell or Akira) Then again they wouldn't do it justice either. I look forward to listening again, but not too many times, I don't want to get burnt out on this story as i did with Bladerunner and Star Wars: A New Hope. I look forward to the next four stories. The Gap series still needs to have the fifth book, with Scott Brick, for me to add to my growing library. If I can discover another space adventure, it will have to stand up to my comparison of the Gap series, as my standard of comparison.
I read this series years ago, but it is one that really impressed me. The characters are truely memorable. I have read so many series that many (most) tend to blend into the background, but this is one where you only need to mention "Angus Thermopyle" and anyone who has read this will immediately remember this flawed character. So disgusting and so interesting. I am really pleased that this is available on Audible now. This series is definitely rated at least R for the rather graphic depiction of rape and sex, but that is just part of the story. This is book one of a really great adventure and a story you will remember. You remember the characters of Angus, Morn, and Nick beyond the story itself.
I devour books like a trash compactor.
This felt like an essay. The viewpoint of the story is the authors, not the characters. The narrator was over dramatic and annoying.
Paid reviewers, after two weeks get 4-8 votes and have that power to strike unhelpful against others. Check their history! Your money!
ABOUT YOU, DON'T YOU.
I'm not sure dark is the way to describe this. The whole book is just sad. Some woman must have dumped Donaldson pretty hard. He can't write music, so he wrote this.
There is nothing to like about any character in this book. It's not a flawed character typed book, it is everybody is evil type book. I have racked my brain trying to figure out why this book was even written. It has no redeemable value at all.
The only thing this book is good for is the style of Scott Brick. He fits it like a glove.
A very poor excuse for gratuitous sexual violence. Very little plot and way too much garbage- as if the author were living some sick fantasy through his characters - wholly without any redeeming value - just - YUCK
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