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Publisher's Summary

A promising young surgeon, Andrej Koscuikso has come, with great reluctance, to study at a military orientation center adrift in black space. Against his will, he will train here to serve as a "Ship's Inquisitor" - a vocation that runs counter to his deepest moral convictions.

©1997 Susan R. Matthews (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about An Exchange of Hostages

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

I wish all science fiction was written this well.

I can't believe I've never heard Matthews before.I was absolutely hooked after the first, I listened to the entire set on audible in one week.

Word play combined with some crazy well crafted diction make the characters in this series shine. Point of view flies between almost every character your ever introduced to, you get to see conversations played through every participant. Trust me you'll get to a point where you can't wait to hear whats going on in the heads of the main characters.

The publish summary doesn't really let you know what you can expect. This series deals with torture, enslavement, genocide, and corruption on a galactic scale. There is a lot of scenes that may turn people off to the series. I guess steer clear if you've got a weak stomach for graphic detail.

Downside is the most recent in the series isn't on audible yet, and considering it's been 7 years since it came out I'm not sure you'll ever get a real conclusion to the series.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A well written foray into psycho-social boundaries

Ms. Matthews writes a compelling story that delves into an almost alien look at the concepts of crime and punishment and how they can be misused and abused. This book sets the pace and tone for the series and is a solid read/listen that I found exceedingly enjoyable both reading and listening to. The depth of character and the development of that depth is fascinating and organic and easily acceptable. You will find yourself alternately loving and hating the protagonist, and finally coming to see that he feels much the same. Highly recommend this series!!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story read by a great voice

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes

What was one of the most memorable moments of An Exchange of Hostages?

The explanation of how the governor works.

Have you listened to any of Stefan Rudnicki’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Very enjoyable story.

Any additional comments?

Matthews is a brilliant writer; I knew the story from reading the book some years ago but it was a treat to hear this reading.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Ignore those reviews, read this one instead

You will see reviews here about "this isn't science fiction" or "nothing happens for so long I'm bored." They're welcome to their opinions, of course, but please don't be misled into missing this book.

Susan Matthews has produced a masterwork in character expression and world building. Every scene is richly detailed, with the "science fiction" part so inherently enmeshed throughout the story that only those who measure the genre by counting phaser blasts could possibly miss the continuous presence of a radically different space-faring society. Despite taking place entirely in one building, Matthews manages to encode a would-be familiar environment with an entirely alien feel: clocks that run on eighths and eights wake-shift to sleep-shift, smoking lefrols in their leavings-dishes, study-sets and arpac-fowl and varied classes of hominid--all as a non-invasive background that is the epitome of show-not-tell.

But the real stars here the characters. They're likewise so detailed--and so few!--that you'll come to catch every nuance in every scene. From paranoid to scarred to petulant, every character has depth and contributes to the tale directly as if the story were boiled down to just the people we need to hear from.

This book is not for the faint of heart, and it's particularly not for children. It makes you watch as a man's life falls apart--confronting an unexpected evil within and trying to find a way to face it while retaining any honour at all. It's brutal, and sick, and yet affirming and uplifting to watch nobility attempt to flourish even in the face of despair.

The sequels are just as powerful; the next book in the series will haunt you, as will the next beyond that. After the first trilogy Matthews does seem to misstep, changing the main POV character and so losing the momentum--but the first three books are absolutely classics and show a writing ability that should be studied by upcoming authors.

The narrator in this book does an adequate job, especially as this cannot have been an easy book to voice. But his reading is very mechanical, especially in conversation, and I feel that draws away from the depth of the carefully constructed dialogs. He also shows only a limited variety of voice, making all characters sound similar. So, well done, but room for improvement.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Minutiae

Just plain awful, boring, no story, no plot, poor writing, poor quality, poor everything, not a 4 star book, but 1 star and that's generous, the worst book in my 500 book library. hours and hours of talk about nothing, Augh!

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couldn't finish

Zepe stars. It's that bad. I have to write at least 15 words for this review to publish. It's really bad

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Very well written... but garbage sci-fi

This story was exceedingly well written for a novel that has no business in the sci-fi genre. There is little to no science in it beside possibly that of the science of torture. I like my protagonists good or grey but darker motivations are alright as long as the character is honest about it. Its actually really aggrivating to hear the main character justify is unforgivable acts.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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Simply one of the worst books in a while

What disappointed you about An Exchange of Hostages?

Took forever to get anything accomplished. Gave up after wasting 4 hours of my life I will never get back again!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-29-19

Takes a while to get going.

Ends in good enough state to spark some interest in subsequent books. Could have done with a bit more distinction in character voices.