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Publisher's Summary

Late in the 26th century, the human race has advanced enough to accidentally trigger the Inhibitors---alien-killing machines designed to detect intelligent life and destroy it. The only hope for humanity lies in the recovery of a secret cache of doomsday weapons---and a renegade named Clavain who is determined to find them. But other factions want the weapons for their own purposes---and the weapons themselves have another agenda altogether.
©2008 Alastair Reynolds (P)2009 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Reynolds confirms his place among the leaders of the hard-science space-opera renaissance." ( Publishers Weekly Starred Review)
"The best of the new breed of space opera. Wild action on a grand scale spans well-imagined and developed worlds." ( The Denver Post)

What listeners say about Redemption Ark

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Stick with this series!

I've gotten the three books in this series as well as Chasm City, a stand alone novel in the same universe. When reading these reviews, I notice many negative comments, and I actually, at one point, probably written the same.
However, after quitting the first book, and focusing on books by other "british space opera" writers such as Peter Hamilton and Richard K. Morgan, I went back to give it another try.
I think what makes these books great is probably the same thing that turns some listeners off. The mythology of the universe is so deep, that until you are familiar with it, it is overwhelming with the references to the different factions, planets, aliens, etc.
But once that familiarity is gained, the stories are so rich, that I am disappointed that I have finished.
And as far as the narrator goes, it seems as though people either love or hate John Lee. But he is incredibly talented with a unique style and once you get use to him, his narration is addicting.

55 people found this helpful

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

84 out of 100.

I really liked Revelation Space, Chasm City, and even The Prefect. This is a small step backwards. I still think his best work is Pushing Ice, or House of Suns.

14 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fermi Paradox as SF Fable

This is book two in the main sequence of the Revelation Space series. I found that I was much more engaged with the story and characters in this novel compared to my level of interest in REVELATION SPACE. Many of the story elements that were introduced in the first book are given meaning here. This is grand scale Space Opera, on a level with Olaf Stapledon and Stephen Baxter. Humanity is starting to branch into political factions that resemble different species. In many ways Reynolds reminds me of Larry Niven, especially in the way he throws out big ideas. It is a book full of ideas and that is its strong suit. This was a fun book to listen to, and even though the situations had nothing to do with reality, I found myself reveling along with the author; rooting him on to see what he would come up with next.

I have heard it said that Reynolds was trying to tell a meaningful story without resorting to the usual worn out Science Fiction trappings such as Faster than Light travel, and tractor beams. In this he is not entirely successful. His slower than light ships do require certain plot constraints that FTL stories neatly avoid. The time-scales for the story are necessarily lifetimes long. To do this he must, of course, include longevity and hibernation technology to insure his characters live long enough to see the end. There is a nice use of Time Travel that becomes a critical plot element. Of course steller evolution plays a big part in Revelation Space, as indeed the very idea of evolution of intelligent life. This is so central to the story that if you are not already familiar with the Fermi Paradox you will be by the end of this book. So it seems that Reynolds has traded one SF trope for another. All just tools in the story teller’s kit.

John Lee is again the narrator for Reynolds. To my ear Lee is much more in sync with the text in this book than in the previous novel. I do think that here he had better characters to work with, and his voice is as soothing as ever. His voice is so sonorous that at times I found myself tuning the story out and listening to John Lee almost as I would listen to music. And that is a danger for this book, for, like all the Alastair Reynolds books I have encountered so far, it does require an attentive listener. This book is much better than REVELATION SPACE but does ot reach the level of excellence of CHASM CITY.

5 people found this helpful

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

It's good but a minor niggle

If you could sum up Redemption Ark in three words, what would they be?

Alastair Reynolds writes a great tale. He's a former physicist and tries hard to keep his yarn consistent with the universe we inhabit... except in one thing. For some reason, he thinks the flow of time increases in a gravitational well... of course it does exactly the opposite (time slows.) It's a weird error and not even necessary as a plot device - so maybe it's better he sticks to writing. :)

What does John Lee bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

JL's performance is excellent - far better than it was in Revelation Space

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Well worth the time

Reynolds is a good writer and Lee is a good narrator. The story and content is well above average. The curious thing is that the author presents some of the most radical concepts and themes almost as mundane life in the 28th Century descriptions.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating

I am listening to this book every chance I get. It's complicated, sometimes confusing, but always interesting. Characters that appeared in the first book of the trilogy, suddenly appear in this book, pulling the story together and allowing the author to take the story in all kinds of directions. The narrator, John Lee, is one of my favorites. He did some of Daniel Silva's earlier books. I really hope audible gets the third book in the series, Absolution Gap. I can hardly wait to hear it.

3 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Still not up to par

What would have made Redemption Ark better?

Have to say that I was hoping for an improvement over books 1 and 3 but it was really boring. I could not get through the first half.

2 people found this helpful

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

Finally getting to the good stuff

Any additional comments?

This book finally gets to the really interesting part of the Revelation Space series, the real bad guys. While i appreciated the buildup Reynolds delivered in the first two entries, the third is, by far, the best yet. Even though the 'long plot' is being developed rather slowly, the writing and solid narration keeps me listening to find out what happens to the main characters and hoping the end of the series delivers what I've been anticipating. If you made it through the first two books of the series, you won't be disappointed by the third book!

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Slow Start but worth it

I really enjoy this author. I find his books to be a bit of a work to get into but then the story really takes off and you never want it to end. I highly reccommend.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Listen!

I thought this book was pretty awesome... I especially liked the way the writer invents the technology of the time, and even describes how it works! I mean, you know it's SF way beyond our capabilities, but the way it's introduced into the story makes the reader believe that it's completely feasible for the era and not just a mind prop.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael
  • 06-26-09

Well written and brilliantly read

Just to put things right this book is the SECOND in the series. There are other books in the same universe parrallel to this one. However this one continues the story on most directly from "Revelation space" Time has moved on though and new charecters take the lead. Its as fantastic as the first and exceptionaly well read. Can't wait for the next installment. Wikapedia has a good entry on Reynolds and all his books and short stories.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Tom
  • 11-30-10

Good quality Hard SF

This is the sequel to 'Revelation Space', which was a truly terrific book. I enjoyed this one too but, frankly, it's not in the same league as 'Revelation Space' - narrative momentum does flag at times and the plot is not so skillfully knitted together, so you feel the length as it were. But still worth a listen.

The third book in the series 'Absolution Gap' is a mess by comparison - easily skipped.

John Lee does a fine job on the narration.

Recommended.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Ben Larson
  • 09-27-20

Doesn't Live Up to Revelation Space

First off, as it wasn't obvious to me: the plot of this book follows on from Revelation Space. Chasm City is a side story that is only tangentially relevant to this one.

This book is a lot more about setting the scene for a space opera than about the plot. There is a lot of description and beautiful hard science (space battles at relativistic speeds was my favourite!), but the plot moves at a glacial pace and the characters are very one-dimensional and uninteresting.

I feel that Revelation Space built up to an incredible final score towards the end, which had my proverbial jaw on the floor for a long while; both Chasm City and Redemption Ark, by comparison, feel like they are building up to a similar crescendo, but it never comes, so it feels like the storylines all just fizzle out.

John Lee does a great job at giving the characters very distinct and compelling voices.

I'm going to try a Peter Hamilton book before attempting the next instalment here.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 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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  • Kevin Gilmartin
  • 04-14-16

Very enjoyable, but tedious in a few places

I got this as an audiobook because I really struggled with the print version. The overall story is great, but Reynolds needs to dial down the needless theoretical physics chat. Hard sci-fi is great, but not when it's so hard you need a physics degree to enjoy it.

Revelation Space and Chasm City weren't like that and they are excellent, so I have hopes for Absolution Gap.

2 people 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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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-30-19

Read this book years ago but forgot how good it is

Well narrated and gripping, a great entry in this saga and easy to listen too and get absorbed. Highly recommended.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-30-17

Great book

The story of the book is great and really enjoyable.
The narrator did a good job and this is well worth your time.

Enjoy it.

I certainly did

1 person found this helpful

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    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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  • Mr Stephen Davies
  • 01-29-21

Good Sequel

Too much dialogue in the first half of story which made it bit tough read. 2and half the story and stakes pick up and it gets more exciting.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Alejo Sanchez
  • 12-23-20

Weak third installment

Revelation Space, in spite of being a bit slow in the middle, was a really good opening for this series. Chasm City was something different giving you a great story around the city. You feel like you’ve been there.

Sadly, Redemption Ark was very boring and predictable. Nothing new is interesting. None of the new characters are appealing. And the ending was pretty bland. I like foreshadowing but this became a drag of unsurprising plot twists.

Performance was still very good, though.

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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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  • TomNI
  • 08-23-19

saga continues

really goo one again. only problem i found was with the quality of the recording. there where spikes in sound volume. like somebody was changing microphones or something

  • 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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  • Vytautas Liesis
  • 07-16-19

Great

Awesome idea behind the story and so far the best out of the series from this author. recommended!

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Thesle
  • 05-29-15

Reynolds continues a trend

This third instalment to the Revelation Space series begins to tie together some of the questions of the first to books as well as the story arks of these books. Alistair starts providing some answers, although these may not be as complex as some readers hope for. You can see in this story an inspiration from E E "Doc" Smith.

Unfortunately Lee goes back to his accented narration, with every sentence trailing off. This makes the books hard to listen to for longer periods. Lee's accents also make the mic preamp peak and introduces distortion into the narration, making the sound worse. If not for the difficulty in listening to Lee again, this book would have a five. I hope you are listening, Audible.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kai
  • 07-25-17

A solid sequel

It's a damn good book, like preceding stories in the Revelation Space series. However, it's not as good as the previous two. It's fantastic in that it links previous storylines together and ties up some loose ends, but there's really something missing that the others had.

Overall, worth listening to if you're a fan of the series. And John Lee scores yet another 10/10 for me, best narrator.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • MR R S BROOKES
  • 11-22-15

Great for a middle book of a trilogy

The narrator has grown on me since revelation space. Looking forward to book three to find out how it all ends up.

1 person found this helpful

  • 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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  • Panayotis Geou
  • 05-18-21

Great third book!

If you like long sci fi books with insights into the future, plausible physics, some action and characters that grow on you then you will love this book. Im going to start book 4 now..

  • 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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  • Nathaniel Kaufmann
  • 03-28-19

Fantastic follow up to Revelation Space

Another step closer to extinction from the Inhibitors. They get closer as preparations are made to evacuate a planet and possibly the whole Conjoiner mother nest.

  • 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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  • Keith
  • 11-27-17

Long, but worth it!

To say I loved it doesn't really do it justice. The story maybe long, but in a sense that helps to emphasize the fact that the story is told over a number of years.
If you have read the first two, you get to meet many old favourite characters, and not all of the ones you would expect.
And as for the narrator, if I didn't know better I would have to say their must have been more than one. The story shifts perspectives and characters rather often, but rarely do you miss cues to show that(ones that would be obvious in written word by use of paragraphs, new pages, etc).
This is becoming fast my favourite science fiction universe!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Warren
  • 02-27-17

Some annoying bits<br />

Why would a voice speaking in someone's head have to say their name all the time? Skaid, Skaid, Skaid.... argh!