• The Empty Men

  • The Stone Man, Book 2
  • By: Luke Smitherd
  • Narrated by: Matt Addis
  • Length: 12 hrs and 36 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (199 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The long-awaited sequel to the number one Amazon and Audible best seller The Stone Man, shortlisted for Audible Book of the Year 2015.

On a quiet seafront in the middle of the afternoon the sun sets, the clouds part and something like a pale, elongated human figure appears on the horizon. 

For Maria, watching from the beach, it’s proof that she should never have dared to return. Five years earlier, her life shattered by the arrival of the Stone Man, she’d fled the country. But now she can’t escape: suddenly, there are news reports of ‘Empty Men’ materialising all around the coast, and the roads are gridlocked. The Empty Men are killers, and they’re heading inland. 

A hundred miles from the sea, lonely, grieving Eric obsessively keeps watch in the ruins of Coventry, never straying far from Ground Zero, the site of the Stone Man’s first appearance. For five years, Eric has known there was a massive government cover-up of the circumstances surrounding the Stone Man and its disappearance, and he’s determined to find the truth. 

As Maria battles the Empty Men in a desperate chase for survival and Eric is caught in a terrifying transformation of Ground Zero, both find themselves on a path leading straight to the heart of the Stone Man mystery.

Chilling, fast-paced and full of stunning twists, this is the highly anticipated second book in Luke Smitherd’s Stone Man series.

©2017 Luke Smitherd (P)2020 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about The Empty Men

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Book need a model taken on women characters.

Before my review of Luke Smitherd’s new book, I need to relate it to 2 other book I listened to recently.

Both were scifi related, written in the 1960s. I read them years ago and considered both a favorites. But listening to them recently I was surprised by how women were depicted. In the first book, women characters were mostly secretaries with no impact on the story. And a male character describes all women as sexually neurotic. In the second book, there was one minor female character that the main character decided to marry... because she was a good mother. The only other woman mentioned was an airline attendant who the main character ogled her butt.

Listening to these books in a modern context, made me rethink my judgment of them.

Sixty years later, women characters don’t fair much better in “The Hollow Men”. There are 2 main characters - a man and a woman. Due to events in the story, both are under stress.

The Man: He is driven by curiosity despite his fear. He makes friends with a couple other men he meets, but he’s largely self-sufficient.

The Woman: she is constantly in a state of panic or hysteria - driven by her fear. She’s dependent of other people (mostly men) for her safety.

(NOTE: There is a minor character, a carry over from The Stone Man. She’s in a position of authority and regularly barker orders. But we know nothing about her or how she ticks.)

Maybe my opinion is shaded by listening to those other books I mentioned. It also doesn’t help that fairly early I found I didn’t like either main character very much.

I don’t think Luke Smitherd is a misogynist but in his next book I’d suggest he re-examine the women characters. I don’t think modern women are helpless and need always be protected. They can be action heroes too.

11 people found this helpful

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Loved The Stone Man. This one is not for me.

One thing I loved about The Stone Man was the absence of romantic entanglement. Like the best sci-fi, the challenges the main characters faced were universally human: fear, honor, selfishness, the desire to do the right thing, failing then at last succeeding. I eagerly bought and downloaded The Empty Men the day it came out...and was surprised to meet the main character, a weepy yoga instructor...and the next main character, a gay man. WTH? The sexual wokeness keeps getting more and more gratuitous in contemporary fiction. I don't want to embrace your in-my-face sexual orientation. Why do you need me to? At least the yoga instructor wasn't a minigun-toting Ripley-ripoff... Still probably will not keep it. Sorry, Mr. Smitherd, I loved The Stone Man when I read it in print years ago, so much that I bought the audiobook when I learned the new one was coming out. This one is not for me.

7 people found this helpful

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Writer's afterword

I doubt you'll ever read this Luke but if you do - huge thank you as an avid fan. To anyone considering reading this - do it. You won't regret it. Get a move on with book 3 though mate :) ill buy it twice if the sales #s need to convince you to keep going

5 people found this helpful

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Always good

Another winner from Luke Smitherd. His books are always a good read/listen. Highly recommend.

5 people found this helpful

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zero payoff.

I loved the first book so I jumped on this one when I realized there was a sequel. The narrator was amazing. I've listened to a lot of audiobooks and he easily is in the top three I've heard.

I gave the book an overall three stars because there is literally no ending. To listen to an hours long audiobook to reach the end and realize there isn't actually an end shows no respect for my time. This is not the first author in the world to write a book franchise with more than one volume. His predecessors, however, managed to actually have an ending to books in each franchise.To build up to a crescendo only to have a complete cop out is disappointing. I guess I won't know how the whole thing turns out because I won't be buying any more books from this author in this franchise or any other. Fool me once . . . .

2 people found this helpful

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An AMAZING sequel!

I was afraid this wouldn’t live up to the first book, but it exceeded all expectations! Can’t wait to read the next Luke Smitherd masterpiece. This is a must read, especially if you’ve read The Stone Man.

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Just bad

I enjoyed the first book. This one was just a mess. i stopped listening about half way through. Had no idea what was going on or why. disappointing. The first book was a lot of fun...Sadly the sequel just was bad.

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent sequel

I loved the 1st The Stoneman book so I didn't even read the reviews and I was correct I loved The Empty Men just as much. If you enjoyed the 1st book you will be happy with this one too. The narrator is great, at 1st I was disappointed that it was someone other than the author narrating but I quickly got over it. I just think Mr Smitherd does a fabulous job at narrating his books, which in my humble opinion is a difficult job. I'm so happy I've found this author. I've read my favorite authors books 2+ times and was in a slump to find any books that really stood out to me and than I found "You See the Monster" and it was so amazing that I immediately read the rest of his books, saving The Stone man books for last. Luke Smitherd has quickly ascended my top 5 fav authors list and I can't wait to read more of what he writes. If you haven't read his other books...you should. The other one I mentioned is a good start and A head full of knives is great.

1 person found this helpful

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King + Koontz = Smitherd (only way BETTER!)

Yes. You will enjoy this book.

You will enjoy it even more if you’ve ever read any of Luke Smitherd’s other novels and have heard how much he puts into his utterly unique stories

Luke, I so appreciate your fresh, fabulous, and original contributions to my daily dose of listening joy!

Also, more please. 😍

1 person found this helpful

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Awesome followup to the Stone Man

Another impossibly good science fiction mystery from Luke Smitherd, and a great job reading by Matt Addis. A final book to close out these stories would make a perfect trilogy. I need this NOW!

1 person found this helpful

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  • maveric78
  • 11-09-20

Disappointing

I’m a massive Smitherd fan. I’ve read his entire back catalogue but I’m sad to report that this is (IMO) his weakest effort. For the first time it was an effort to get to the end.

The characters were under developed and grated. There was pace but zero suspense.
The plot was weak and convoluted... It felt like a bit of a (whisper it)... cash in.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Mr. C. J. Heath
  • 11-11-20

Disappointed

I'm really sad to report that I'm about halfway through the book and I'm totally bored with it. Uninteresting and confusing characters and storyline which jumps around and I find impossible to follow. I'm a massive fan of all Luke Smithard books and this is the first one I'm unable to finish. Really sad as I was really excited to listen to it. Can't understand the glowing reviews at all.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Zidanny
  • 11-06-20

Fantastic sequel

Brilliantly written by Luke Smitherd and wonderfully narrated by Matt Addis.

I absolutely loved the first book and have waited years to read/listen to the sequel. Smitherd has managed to meet the high expectations that his readers are now used to.

I highly recommend.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Liam Curran
  • 11-07-20

Luke Smitherd at his best

I loved it! Great narration as always by Matt Addis. the story pretty much picked up where the last book left off so I'm glad I re listened to The Stone Man when The Empty Men appeared in the pre order section. The story is just as good as the first book, full of mystery, suspense and humour. I'm not really a fan of making books into movies but I wish they would of this series just so it would reach a wider audience. it deserves to be noticed!

7 people found this helpful

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  • Scorpio48
  • 04-22-21

Not as good as the first one

Very disappointed with this sequel. Nowhere near as good as the first one. I could not bring myself to finish it. Save your credit, it's not worth it. The only good thing about is is the narrator.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Justin Winston
  • 04-11-21

Awesome follow on to the Stone Man!

If like me you loved the Stone Man and couldn't put it down (turn it off 😀) then you will not be disappointed in the Empty Men. Loved every minute of it and can't wait for the next installment.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Daniel
  • 11-10-20

Really enjoyed the follow up to TSM

Kept me engaged throughout wanting to know what was going to happen next. Well worth buying.

4 people found this helpful

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  • green
  • 06-09-21

Loved it

I'm not going to comment on the story or characters, Im just going to say that I have enjoied all of Smitherds audiobooks and this was no exception! Matt Addis did a great job on the narration as well. Can't wait for more books by Luke.

3 people found this helpful

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  • karajo
  • 05-09-21

Great sequel

enjoyable and interesting, definitely worth a listen or read if you ultra liked the TSM

3 people found this helpful

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  • damien ryan
  • 05-06-21

great sequel to this series

really enjoyed this book can't wait for the next installment. will be checking out more titles from this author

3 people found this helpful

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  • DebB
  • 11-12-20

Wonderful sequel...loved it!

The Stone Man is one of my favourite books, and yay finally a sequel..The Empty Men! It was such joy to step back into that world, to meet new characters and a new threat. What a great book.
No spoilers here.. all I’ll say is if you enjoyed The Stone Man, you’ll LOVE The Empty Men.