Ancestral Night

Narrated by: Nneka Okoye
Series: White Space, Book 1, Ancestral Night Series, Book 1
Length: 16 hrs and 48 mins
4.1 out of 5 stars (25 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A space salvager and her partner make the discovery of a lifetime that just might change the universe in this wild, big-ideas space opera from multi-award-winning author Elizabeth Bear. 

Haimey Dz thinks she knows what she wants. 

She thinks she knows who she is. 

She is wrong. 

A routine salvage mission uncovers evidence of a terrible crime and relics of a powerful ancient technology, just as Haimey and her small crew run afoul of pirates at the outer limits of the Milky Way and find themselves both on the run and in possession of ancient, universe-changing technology. 

When the authorities prove corrupt, it becomes clear that Haimey is the only one who can protect her galaxy-spanning civilisation from its potential power - and from the revolutionaries who want to use it to seed terror and war. But doing so will take her from the event horizon of the super-massive black hole at the galaxy's core to the infinite, empty spaces at its edge. Along the way, she'll have to uncover the secrets of ancient intelligences lost to time as well as her own lost secrets, which she will wish had remained hidden from her forever.... 

Energetic and electrifying, Ancestral Night is a dazzling new space opera, sure to delight fans of Alastair Reynolds, Iain M. Banks and Peter F. Hamilton. 

©2019 Elizabeth Bear (P)2019 Orion Publishing Group

Critic Reviews

Praise for Elizabeth Bear: "Gripping, perfectly balanced, and highly recommended." (Kirkus)

"Like the best of speculative fiction, Bear has created a fascinating and complete universe that blends high-tech gadgetry with Old World adventure and political collusion." (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Ancestral Night

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for stephen carrigg
  • stephen carrigg
  • 03-18-19

Great space ideas , internalizing main character

I really wanted to like this book alot , some of the sci fi ideas are great and I couldnt wait for them to be expanded on ...... it didnt happen . The narrator did a decent job , although I thought the first few hours she just sounded like she was reading a book to me . I just couldnt get into the characters she was doing because of that . Some of it felt like being sat in a ethics class , or some sort of self help group talking about your feelings and it was more that than sci fi which in the end left me with a bad taste .

4 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for S R  Stennett Author  of Architect
  • S R Stennett Author of Architect
  • 07-06-19

Slow and steady.

This book at no stage raised my heart beat above a gentle stroll. Well written, it just never got into the realm of I can't put this down. Like I said, slow and steady.

2 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Paul Cudmore
  • Paul Cudmore
  • 04-02-19

Good sci fi, great vision and story telling.

Really enjoyed this. I was invested in the characters. It had a good story arc and lots of interesting novel sci if ideas. If you like Alastair Reynolds I would recommend a listen.

2 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for jonb@armslength.co.uk
  • jonb@armslength.co.uk
  • 12-21-19

Dismal Brontean sci fi schlock

Oh wow. I wanted to like this. Great title, great cover. Unfortunately that's as far as it goes. Bear's universe is a dismal paper thin wokesphere, in which her antagonists are as cardboard thin and stereotyped as her heroes. I'm a strongly left leaning progressive, but this made me want to run screaming to join the resistance. Everytime you think some level of complexity or moral ambuguity might ve addressed, she immediately backs away on favour of reasserting the rightness of her protagonists POV. Given that said protagonist hails from a civilization that uses brain manipulation to ensure conformity, it's not a great look. tallying of the protagonist, the whole thing is narrated first person, in what it slowly dawned on me is an attempt to pastiche the style of Charlotte Bronte. I kept thinking there might be some smart reveal waiting down the line as to why, but, no, it's just an unnecessary stylistic choice. The result is a tiresome and self indulgent narrator. The choice of style is merely one of the many things that emphasise how clever the author thinks she is being. If some of the effort invested in cleverness were invested in plots or characters that actually made sense, or had greater depth than a shadow puppet, this could have been enjoyable. It's not. I cared so little for any character in this book that when Bear tries to shock with Character deaths, i just found myself shrugging and listening on in bland resignation. The whole book is a string of science magic assisted deus ex machina events. If you want a sharp, nuanced and imaginative take on liberal culture taken to logical extremes in space, read Ian M Banks. If you want cracking, fast paved space opera with well written political back and forth, read the Expanse novels. If you want sharp feminist and progressive sci fi, read Le Guin, Atwood or Naomi Alderman. This doggerel is oh the same dismal category as the woefully awful Ready Player One. If you want a poorly rendered mash up of Cline and Bronte, this is a must read. otherwise, avoid like the plague.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for iBloke
  • iBloke
  • 12-20-19

Sadly un-listenable

Narrators are a personal choice, but for such a complex story pace and clarity are essential and after I had to "rewind" the first 5 mins of the story three times, the final at 0.75 speed and still find I was unable to follow the story - I sadly gave up. I'm not sure how much of this is the narrators style, the audio production or the use of language in the book, but it's not for me. Great that Audible allows you to return audiobooks.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Matthew Crighton
  • Matthew Crighton
  • 03-25-20

Great story

Loved the story, although it would have been better if it was a little more pacy. For me the narrator really let this book down. But if you can get past that then it’s a really enjoyable listen.

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  • carlo
  • 02-21-20

Honestly I tried

I tried really hard to like this one, the plot seemed interesting and at first it was, but the internal dialog of the main character was just so depressing long periods of whining, my mind just drifted off on to other things and when audible send you and e-mail reminding you to listen to it you know something is wrong!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-16-19

Thesaurus and colour chart required...

This book was hard work with all the made up words. And many of the real words i haven't heard since leaving school 20 plus years ago. Even got a thesaurus out for a few . Colours... As a man in my 40's i had never heard of 90% of them and had to ask Google . To me this is a English literature come psychology student way of justifying there years at university. To myself it 8 hours of so so sci fi and 8 hours of pretentious psycho babble. Sigmund Freudesk salvage engineer of space and a story with very little meat to. And the narrator was found lacking very dry with random gaps everywhere...

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-04-19

an internal experience of an astroengineer

Amazing journey. A whirlwind of galactic travel through space in search of lost selves. Intelligently and heartfully read.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-29-19

Good but a little long winded at times.

This was a good listen. I switched off halfway through but got back into it again. Would recommend it cautiously to my spacefaring friends.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-06-20

sadly disappointing

i really wanted to love this. it looked great from the blurb and it had some good ideas, but is really let down by the writing and narrator. the first person style is quite annoying, so many tangents and self-conscious ‘to the reader’ asides which keep breaking the pace and immersion. it’s like a teenager writing a Dear Diary novel. the narration is sadly as annoying as the writing, often misreading or mis-emphasising words and phrases which makes them difficult to parse.