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Publisher's Summary

From BSFA award-winning author Gareth L. Powell comes the first in a new epic sci-fi trilogy exploring the legacies of war.

The sentient warship Trouble Dog was built for violence, yet following a brutal war, she is disgusted by her role in a genocide. Stripped of her weaponry and seeking to atone, she joins the House of Reclamation, an organization dedicated to rescuing ships in distress. When a civilian ship goes missing in a disputed system, Trouble Dog and her new crew of loners, captained by Sal Konstanz, are sent on a rescue mission.

Meanwhile, light years away, intelligence officer Ashton Childe is tasked with locating the poet, Ona Sudak, who was aboard the missing spaceship. What Childe doesn't know is that Sudak is not the person she appears to be. A straightforward rescue turns into something far more dangerous, as Trouble Dog, Konstanz, and Childe find themselves at the center of a conflict that could engulf the entire galaxy. If she is to save her crew, Trouble Dog is going to have to remember how to fight ...

©2018 Gareth L. Powell (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Embers of War

Average Customer Ratings
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • 4 Stars
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  • 3 Stars
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    31

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars

Narrator has an annoying cadence

Narrator has an annoying cadence and emphasis words in an offbeat way that confuses the brain. it's as if she is trying to read the story like a rhyme and is forcing rythme into her reading. couldn't continue listening

32 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

plot holes large enough to fly a 747 through.

it feels like the author want even trying. I finished it. don't know why.... wouldn't recommend

14 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

One And Done

This book (and its sequels) has issues that have nothing to do with the narrator. (That’s the chief complaint you see in the lower star reviews but I thought the narrators were fine.)

First, I will say that Powell has some interesting ideas and the payoff at the end was a nice wrap-up of various story lines. If you get this book, stop there. The open threads left are not worth the slog of the two sequels, where the issues of the first book become worse.

Now, the issues. The biggest issue is the characters. Powell can’t write a positive male character to save his life. In fact, arguably the only positive male character is positive because (spoiler) he dies before negative traits can be written for him. The males are cowardly, selfish, contemptible, or sometimes downright pathetic. All of them are this way. In the sequels, this pattern is worse!

The female characters are better, but not exactly inspiring or likeable. Too often Powell writes emotional arcs for these characters without laying a foundation for it and so the payoffs ring hollow. Again, this gets worse with each book and is especially bad by Light of Impossible Stars. The pacing and plot for Cordelia Pa is so bad I didn’t want to finish the book.

The only good characters are Nod, the Druf engineer and the Troubledog, the ship. And Powell overdoes their bits. They talk about The World Tree and “canine DNA makes me loyal to the pack” EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Please stop assuming your reader is an idiot, Gareth, we remember.

Powell seems to forget choices he made from one book to the next and he retcons or changes motivations and ideas. I’m sure he would say he just hadn’t fully revealed the truth but instead it feels like he just changed tack midway.

These books get mentioned with Ian Banks’ Culture because they’re space opera but they are the same genre in only the barest technical sense of the word. It is a superficial similarity. None of the substance or depth of Banks is present in these novels. Again, some cool ideas (hybrid dog-human controlled spaceships ARE cool, even if he reminds us every time, and the “twist” ending and the related ideas feel fresh) but in the end the characters and the poor pacing ruin it. I have 2 hours left in Light Of Impossible Stars and I just want it to be over.

Read the first one and pretend there are no more. The quality drops sharply with each new book.

12 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Decent story - no wow factor

it wasn't until Chapter 23 where the story began to come together in such a way to help you understand what was actually going on. until then, the book read as a bunch of disjointed stories all reaching, and stalling, for something. the later chapters read well, and finally picked up a beat, which is a plus.

I'd have to read the sequel (if there is one) before I completely write this story off. Had the potential to be so much better.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Narrator inflections stopped me

I could not listen beyond a few minutes simply because of the narrator's upward inflection at the end of each sentence. I have no idea what the story line is, sorry.

5 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Character Study, Not a Sci Fi Novel

This book is not a sci fi novel but instead a character study. There are moments of action interspersed between long, long descriptions about how miserable each person/AI/alien feels.The characters are all insecure, depressed, experiencing existential crises, and suffering from depression, guilt/shame, and PTSD - including the AI and the alien. All are consumed with themselves; they don't work and play well together. None of the characters were sympathetic; I hoped they'd all die just so the misery would end. The book was boring.

30 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

great space opera

I just finished #nebulareading of @garethlpowell's Embers of War. Great #spaceopera with self-aware ships, ancient tech, and human conflict. An anti-war, anti-violence story of guilt, redemption, power and humanitarianism.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Huh. Book is narrated by Amazon Alexa... Neat!

Seriously though... One of the narrators is the most annoying narrator I've come across. Check it out!

As for the story... The parts I remember seem alright, I guess. It's just really hard to follow along after a while because every time the Amazon Alexa starts narrating I involuntary stop paying attention XD

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

A long grind until something interesting happens.

I am a huge fan of Ian M. Banks. I have re-read all his books at least three times. Since this amazing writer died, I have been looking for something that would fill the void. Gareth L. Powell would not. It is a good thing. I would hate a knock-off. This is original.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic story!

I started listening to this after the recommendation of guest editor John Scalzi,because I love his books. It's a great story of post war lives of a group of people and sentient ships.
The narration is excellent. I'm buying the next book in the series right now.

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Iron Duke
  • 03-22-19

Awful

Just bad. Terrible characterisation, daft dialogue terrible narration. Very little sci. Reads like a bad YA novel.

3 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • F. Adomeit
  • 09-15-18

Slow and not very original character piece

The story tries to show all the different characters and their perspectives, but none of them are very interesting or original. There is barely any story around the characters and instead of progressing the story it often goes into the characters thoughts and histories for ages before returning to the current moment. It even sometime reiterates the not very interesting situation from different perspectives just so we definitely know how every character in the scene felt about it. This seems to be a central problem where the book just keeps explaining things instead of showing it organically through the story. Here have the "History of the House of Reclamation", let me just explain these space suits, oh aren't these weird planet formations mysterious? All of these things could have been interesting if they had been part of a good story, but it is not.
It gets very exhausting and didn't hold my attention on a train ride where I had absolutely nothing better to do than to listen to the story.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Len
  • 03-07-19

Excellent story let down by narration

Super imagination and excellent story. However the narration was across the board poor with the overwhelming sound of breathless sadness across everything becoming boring and keeping the listener from becoming as engaged as it could have been.
Will however get second book on strength of the story

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Joe at the shed
  • 10-24-18

Nice concept but lacked substance in the delivery

I found this audio book difficult to finish, starting it fine... The introduction and character generation were sound with believable back storeys.

However as the story developed I found the choices the characters made less believable and even jarred with what was written (although in an audio book it's sometimes difficult to tell how progress has been made) in the previous page. This seemed to continue right through the book, examples include the captain/admiral who appeared later in the book, only having one constant setting, rage. While it might be believable that admirals might get in a rage, someone who has extensive military experience will be able control their own emotions better.

The ending also seemed rushed, and in my opinion to easy for the hero to win out to victory from an unlikely position, also giving them to much power without understanding the costs or risks associated.

To summarise... Only buy this if you are desperate for a fill in between better quality books

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah
  • 07-01-18

multiple narrators are great, in enjoyable story

This takes the familiar trope of dispirit rogue starship crew who have different agendas and some of who are not even on the same side and does something new and interesting with the idea. This time it's a first responder rescue ship. This really makes it stand out as abit different and makes for a very engaging tale. It helps a great deal that the ship itself is a well rounded and entertaining character. what really makes this an engaging audio book is that the tale is told by several different narrators each playing different crew mates as each chapter is 1st person from a individual characters point of view. This really really works and draws you into the tale. Highly recommended listening!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Vytautas Liesis
  • 09-15-21

Average

The story is fairly average, some action at the end ONLY. It would not be that bad if not just ONE of the performers. all of the performers read very well, except the one who was reading Ona Sudak character.

if you want to know how NOT to read, the listen to those chapters, as she read with REGULAR awe at the end of each sentence and sometimes even in the middle.

You can notice that better if you listen at 1.35x speed, because otherwise it is just WAY TOO SLOW...

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr CFB
  • 09-03-21

The narrator keeps extending vowels as she speaks

She ruined this for me. Yes could not keep listening. It might be a great story. Although never going to be up to Alistair Reynolds he is in a league of his own.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Matthew Newell
  • 05-28-21

pretty poor

overall: it was an ok listen. nothing offensive nor dreadful but nothing original nor thought-provoking.

multi part performance was good in parts but not great and a few voices were unconvincing.

the story was fairly derivative and in a few sections very naive. every motif or theme is done better in other books - nothing thrills and excites. the characters were accessible but, to an extent, cardboard cutouts lacking any depth. the plot hung together well but did rely a bit on several occasions on deus ex machina.

i probably would not have finished book in printed form - life's too short - but as an audiobook it was a pleasant enough distraction to listen to the end.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tim
  • 05-08-21

Loved everything about this Audio Book

An amazing story perfectly executed by the narrators. This gripping tale is poetic, yet direct.... traversing the inner and outer galaxies of the readers mind... loved it! Just read it.. you will not be disappointed.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jay
  • 02-07-21

confusing use of voice actors

I wanted to like this book, as I enjoy Greg Tremblay voice acting, but the reading in this book is split up between several readers, who overlap characters.... I think... (hence how confusing it becomes) I'm hoping the whole series isn't like this.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Leigh
  • 10-25-21

Terrible narration, good story.

Some of these readers have obviously been told to slow down before. Unfortunately, they seem incapable of doing so. Instead, they still spit each sentence out in an almost incomprehensible jumble, but draw the last word of every sentence out, like a tape recorder with the batteries going flat. It's very distracting, and means that slowing down the playback speed makes it sound worse.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • SonOfHenry
  • 03-04-21

Good story, narration a bit of a mixed bag

Really liked the story, good twists and backatory... characters fleshed out, maybe too many and the story too pacey to really get to like them though... suspect that'll come with later books...

Narration though was a bit of a mixed bag... female narrators sounded too much alike, made listening confusing at times...

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Steven
  • 03-06-19

a great story, masterfully told

An enjoyable sci fi romp with delicious teasing of the story to come. Relatable characters and good descriptions of technology at a good placement in the hard/soft sci fi intersection.