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Publisher's Summary

In a space-faring civilization where a single woman is increasingly disenfranchised, the star pilot Silence Leigh is defrauded from her inheritance by a greedy competitor. Forced to ally with two men, Silence is dragged into a deadly political struggle, and is tantalized by the hints of the legendary Earth, as well as the dread and the glory of Magi's power. Her dreams of having her own ship and of escape from the Hegemony's oppressions take on new direction and focus when she joins the crew of "The Sun-Treader".

©1985 Melissa Scott (P)2012 David Wilson

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Glad to see it in audio book

What did you love best about Five Twelfths of Heaven?

I read this story many years ago when it came out and loved it then. I was so glad to see it in audio book. It's even better in audio. I hope they release the other two books in the trilogy: Silence in Solitude and Empress of Earth.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Five Twelfths of Hell

I did something the other day, that I have not done in years. I turned off a book, I had not finished and turned on the radio.

This started out with a pretty good first chapter. Leigh is in court, wearing a veil and waiting on her uncle to show up. In the future she lives in, the Hegemony that rules does not grant women legal rights or let them speak for themselves in court. A guardian (man) must do that for her. She is one of the only women pilots in the Universe, cause she learned before this hegemony took over. She handles herself very well in this situation and the first chapter is very clearly written. I really thought I was in for a good story.

In chapter two she pilots a ship by Harmonizing with the Universe? This was a long boring stupid chapter. Then the rest of the book is like, when I am trying to be nice and I ask my wife how was her day and then she actually tells me minute by minute. Really, I mean when women ask other women, how was there day, are they really that interested?

In the past I had read Brightly Burning by Scott and thought it was okay, so I gave this a shot. Bad Idea.

20 of 25 people found this review helpful

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Love this series

I discovered this series in hard cover when it first came out. Now that I also have it on Audible, I revisit it at least once a year. Well written, great characters and a good story.

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I love the concept

the idea that starships run on special water and MUSIC is very appealing to me. Indeed almost as appealing as the idea that said travel is conducted via star roads (or the galaxies).
In addition the storyline is quite good, also.

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Extraordinary Story!

I've been reading this series since it came out during my teens. It's nice being able to enjoy it again in a hands free manner. The voices and pronunciation I've had 8n my mind these thirty years is so different than the readers.

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  • M K D'israeli
  • 04-08-16

Feminist high adventure in space

From the very starting passage I fell in love with the story. Silence, the main character, is still just as captivating a character as she was thirty years ago when the book was published. A rare female pilot, she finds herself on a world (like many in this setting) in which women are treated as second class citizens, but determined to return to the life she loves - that of a pilot.

Whilst considered science fiction, the setting is one in which high technology has been limited and instead society is based on principles closer to what you might call magic. But it is ordered, studied and practiced in manners no different to any high science found in science fiction or conics. I found myself regularly listening to entire sections again purely to enjoy the deep descriptions of the science of the world Melissa Scott has built.


Throughout the book, the narration was excellent. Arielle speaks clearly and put a lot of feeling into the performance. Different characters and their emotions were always clear. Melissa Scott's character and place names were always very distinctive, and combined with Arielle's performance this meant I never felt lost or confused.

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