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Publisher's Summary

Ardulum. The planet that vanishes. The planet that sleeps. 

Neek makes a living piloting the dilapidated tramp transport Mercy’s Pledge and smuggling questionable goods across systems blessed with peace and prosperity. She gets by - but only just. In her dreams, she is still haunted by thoughts of Ardulum, the traveling planet that long ago visited her homeworld. The Ardulans brought with them agriculture, art, interstellar technology...and then disappeared without a trace, leaving Neek’s people to worship them as gods. 

Neek does not believe - and has paid dearly for it with an exile from her home for her heretical views. Yet when the crew stumbles into an armed confrontation between the sheriffs of the Charted Systems and an unknown species, fate deals Neek an unexpected hand in the form of a slave girl - a child whose ability to telepathically manipulate cellulose is reminiscent of that of an Ardulan god. Forced to reconcile her beliefs, Neek chooses to protect her, but is the child the key to her salvation, or will she lead them all to their deaths?

©2017 J.S. Fields (P)2018 J.S. Fields

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

now THIS is a tale well told

So OK, so I was drawn in to give this a listen, as I always am, by the always stellar work of narrator ☆LYNN NORRIS☆, who never fails to bring warmth, intelligence, flawless pacing, and characters delineated with the input of an excellent ear and a strong, thoughtful take on each personality and how they all factor into the action. That said, sometimes I've felt that the material she's had to work with in the past fell a bit short of her prodigious gifts to bring it to vivid life — a windfall for that author, but mildly disappointing to me when the story didn't give her the richest chance to show what she can clearly do.

And then: ARDULUM. At long last, a story giving Lynn Norris some real red meat, with deep, rich characters; spectacularly detailed (but fully accessible) and clearly knowledge-based science that challenges religious superstition but potentially enhances and informs spirituality (Dancing Wu-Li Masters, anyone?); a moral universe that provokes thought and aspiration but never proselytizes or gives easy answers; fully realized cultures to relish; gender fluidity (including coined pronouns for those who don't fit into the more rigidly conservative constructs of some Terran mentalities of our time, though here, new genders are unequivocal genotypes); no overt romance (so far), leaving one's imagination free to take telepathic connection into a still more intimate realm; and action and suspense aplenty, always in service of the excellently paced plot.

Ms. Norris does her magical thing in spades here, creating delicious accents and/or intonations for the various sentient species, within which framework individuals are still miraculously discrete; handling the scientific jargon like a pro; bringing just the right emotional tone and muscularity to each scene, encompassing everything from tender vulnerability to life experience-based indecision to occasional shameless relish in violence (particularly of the vendetta variety). I was in the hands of a master. And especially with material this good, that is a fine place to be.

This is the first of a series, apparently, and I am thrilled at the prospect of more, as the combo of J.S. Fields and Lynn Norris is a dynamic synergy that knocks my socks off. The story's breathless and contemplative by turns, and introduces us to a universe that is chock-full of mysteries great and small, some resolved here, but some of which I predict will be unraveled in the books to come.

I can't wait.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

A whole new sci-go experience!

I tend to stay firmly planted in the romance genres, but sci-fi was my first love, even as a child. Lots of novels in this genre have a tendency to stick to humans or humanoid aliens that really have no differences from us other than their homeworld, but Fields had no such notions here! Sure, Neek May have been humanoid herself, but the accompany stook (I’m sorry I don’t know the spelling of that) and telepathy set her and her people aside from normal. Every other alien species mentioned was unlike any I’d read of before too! Right away I knew I was in for a creative novel.

I was very impressed with the real science used in Ardulum. I was caught somewhere between “man where did they come up with this” and “I think I’m actually learning something”, but I say that in the best way. As another reviewer said, it was accessible science, which added that much more to the story. They even went so far as to describe the inner workings of certain injuries, which told me the research that went into making the book believable.

Details like those aside, I appreciated the clear plot. It never dragged or left me skipping sections, and any sudden twists were just unexpected enough to have me wanting to hear another chapter. I loved Neek’s come-at-me attitude, though I’ll admit I’m still a little lost about her past and what /exactly/ happened that led to her getting the boot from Neek.

Now, I’m trying not to give away any spoilers not in the “dust jacket” of the book, so I’ll move onto narration. Lynn Norris. That woman made my ears fall in love with her from the first word, and I’ll likely look into listening any book she narrates until there aren’t any more. She offers such a variety of tones, accents, inflections, emotions, and just pure talent when it comes to narrating, I’ve contemplated writing myself just to have her narrate.

I was given a copy of this book for review, but all views are my own!

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Wow just Wow!

This book is awesome! I felt as if I was in the book living through the experiences of the characters. The author has a great imagination and a way of telling a story that I found wonderful.
The narrator does an excellent job of distinguishing between the characters.
I can’t wait for the next book in the series to come out to find out what happens. I highly recommend this book!

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  • R. R. Langham
  • 08-07-18

A complex, full-throttle adventure through space

I’ve read this as an ebook and now returned to it as an audiobook. I must admit I understood, and engaged with, the story and it’s impressive scientific content more fully in the audio version. I’m a “soft” sci-fi reader who tends to struggle with technical elements of some sci-fi and so my second foray into this world helped me to really grasp Ardulum more effectively.

The action scenes — of which there are many — really came to life in the audiobook. It’s always full steam ahead with Ardulum, that’s for sure! So you better hold onto your seat and buckle in for the ride.

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  • Samantha
  • 06-30-18

Loved this book<br />

Great story looking forward to hearing the next to narrator was also really good I recommended this to any les sify fan