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The Gripping Hand

Narrated by: L. J. Ganser
Series: Mote in God's Eye, Book 2
Length: 15 hrs and 11 mins
Categories: Romance, Historical
4 out of 5 stars (1,541 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Robert Heinlein called it "possibly the finest science fiction novel I have ever read". The San Francisco Chronicle declared that "as science fiction, The Mote in God's Eye is one of the most important novels ever published". Now Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, award-winning authors of such best sellers as Footfall and The Legacy of Heorot, return us to the Mote, and to the universe of Kevin Renner and Horace Bury, of Rod Blaine and Sally Fowler.

There, 25 years have passed since humanity quarantined the mysterious aliens known as Moties within the confines of their own solar system. They have spent a quarter century analyzing and agonizing over the deadly threat posed by the only aliens mankind has ever encountered - a race divided into distinct biological forms, each serving a different function: Master, Mediator, Engineer, Warrior. Each supremely adapted to its task, yet doomed by millions of years of evolution to an inescapable fate. For the Moties must breed - or die. And now the fragile wall separating them and the galaxy beyond is beginning to crumble.

©1993 Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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

Sequel to "The Mote in God's Eye"

"The Mote in God's Eye" is one of my all-time favorite science fiction novels. When it appeared it took a truly novel, very anthropological approach to the subject of aliens, and it managed to make the Moties some of the most interesting aliens in the world of science fiction. This sequel picks up the story several decades after the original and spends the first half of the book reintroducing characters, reprising the plot line of the first book, and introducing a few new players (most of them descendents of people in the original). This reintroduction is long, tedious for someone who has read the original, and probably confusing for someone who hasn't. The second half picks up the pace because the Moties are back in the picture, and Pournelle and Niven do a great job of extrapolating the effects that contact with humans would have had on the Motie civilization. In summary, you definitely have to read the first book before you read this one, at which point you should fast forward through the first half of Gripping Hand as fast as your audio player will allow -- or get the WhisperSync version and skim to the middle and THEN listen. Ganser's narration is solid, but not worth the hours of listening required to get to the good stuff.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • TS
  • Tucson, AZ, United States
  • 03-16-13

Just not as good as the first

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I don't know who would enjoy this book after the first one. It was a fairly miserable sequel.

Would you ever listen to anything by Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven again?

Probably not.

What aspect of L. J. Ganser’s performance would you have changed?

The performance wasn't that bad, the story was the problem.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Not really. Too silly on an ending, the characters got weak.

Any additional comments?

I wish I'd liked it.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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*Click*

In the first one, the reader makes a click noise when pronouncing feunch(click) ... in this one, he literally says "click" ... It's very distracting and weird, haha. last third of this book is up there with the first. First half drags.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Not your standard Pournelle and Niven

This book will be amazing if you absolutely loved the first book Mote in Gods Eye. While I enjoyed it, this book focused on a side story that just wasn’t THAT interesting in my opinion. Overall the performance of this book was just fine, but the story was not one of Pournelle’s or Niven’s finest works. The book seemed forced, and focused far too much on setting. Would always prefer detail over setting as Pournelle and Niven do usually. I’d recommend passing on this book. Mote in Gods Eye is just about all you need.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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good book, poor production

This is a fascinating, classic book series. I enjoyed the first book, and this was a good follow-up. However, this was a poor audiobook production. It's not that the narrator isn't good; he's been great in other audiobooks. But somehow this book is tough to pull off by a single actor. Transitions between speakers are quick, not well delineated, so having a single voice actor do them all successfully is not easy. It was tough following who was speaking when. What's more, transitions across sections within a chapter were too quick, making it very hard to understand that we've changed setting and characters, resulting in a very confusing audiobook.

It's a pity that this fun book received such a subpar treatment.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Doug
  • Calgary, AB, Canada
  • 12-30-12

I was wrong all these years

I have never finished this novel despite The Mote in God's Eye being my favorite novel. I don't know if it was my extremely high expectations or I was just judging it too harshly. Well I listened to this and I really enjoyed it and found it to be a decent sequel to "The Mote" I think the reader "who was excellent" really brought the novel to life and greatly enhanced the experience. So thanks Audible I am really glad I listened to this. Well Done!

10 of 15 people found this review helpful

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The sequel matches the first book

What did you like best about The Gripping Hand? What did you like least?

The story is excellent , just like the first book you can get lost in the details and multiple number of characters. Do not expect a summary of events in this squeal, it only mentions events from the first book as the story progresses.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • steve
  • pasadena, TX, United States
  • 02-22-13

Maybe its me but I found this difficult to follow.

Any additional comments?

It was ok but I had a hard time following the story line a lot of times. There seemed to be a lot of unimportant nonsense mixed in. Perhaps this was the authors method of building depth to the story/characters but I found it derailed the plot.

The first book was better...however, I found that the author trying to pass creatures that can modify and improve advanced technology as unintelligent animals was more than a stretch.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great sequel.

A really engaging sequel for fans of Niven and Pournelle.

The narration is much better than the first novel thanks to there being no "dodgy" scots avens.

Highly recommended.

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Classic portal to another fantasy world.

I've enjoyed reading all three books and equally enjoyed listening (multiple times) to the first two.

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  • Mara
  • 07-07-14

Waited for more

In short - I was somehow disappointed in the book.

I had a unique situation, as I already had read the book once in paper format but as the first one (I read the first part of the series after this second part only - somehow started the other way around). So - the first time I loved the book - a lot! Then came a big pause (several years) until I got to read the first book of the series, liked it quite well and decided I had forgotten all about what happens in the second part, so let's read it again!

Well, somehow now it seemed that the first part was much more interesting and the main reason is that the story there moved much quicker. In this book - the Gripping Hand - half of the book or more you are waiting and waiting for some action to start at last, you are bored to death with descriptions of all the Imperial laws and casts and royals and lords and who knows what. Who cares, really??? Give me the aliens already! And when you get them and you already had read the first book, you don't have much of any surprises there left for them, and there seems to be much less interesting interactions with humans there as it was in the first book. So, maybe reading the first book, spoiled the second one... but it shouldn't be like that... so the only conclusion is that the author went wrong somewhere.

So - maybe, if you choose to read it as the only book of the series, it will still be a good choice. But I guess, you should better pick the first one.

I can't rate it bad though, as I loved it the first time I read it. And I liked the narrator, too.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Paul c
  • 12-14-18

Great listen

Well presented and seemed to be more academic but just as good as first book. I love the political complexity within the human and alien characters.

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  • James Crowe
  • 08-15-18

A suitable followup!

Enjoyed the prequel, however, the many long space scenes do not translate well to an audiobook and the narrator has difficulty fleshing out a dry story

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Toadjuggler
  • 07-13-18

Bit of a let down after the first one.

"The Mote In God's Eye" is deservedly considered a classic, I can't recommend it highly enough. Sadly, none of this is true of this book, which is slow, wordy and dull with too many characters, too many ships, and not enough meat. Returned it unfinished, something I very rarely do.

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  • Wakeman
  • 06-05-18

Much better than expected

I had relatively low expectations for this sequel to one of my favourite ‘first contact’ stories. It was wriitten many years after the original, for example. I was pleasantly surprised; the plotting was good and the expansion of familiar characters from the ‘Mote In God’s Eye’ was well done. The only negative is the rather rushed ending after a long build-up; rather too many plot points left open-ended. Recommended. Beware, it won’t make a lot of sense if you haven’t read the original.

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  • Thes
  • 03-22-18

A Little Extra Motie

This is the sequel to "the mote in god's eye" which was a brilliant book that left me wanting to know more about the odd civilization of the Motie race and the humans interaction with them. This book provides that little extra something. It was satisfying to rejoin the story, set some years after the original, but sharing most of the original protagonists, while adding in many new to the mix. It lacks some of the tension and drama of the first book and is perhaps more politically focused regarding the various factions but all in all was an enjoyable listen and well read by the same actor. I would recommend you listen to to the books in order, although it is possible to follow this story in isolation.

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  • Andrew Withey
  • 11-06-17

Takes a long time to get going.

The first half of the book is spent seeing the scene and describing the political background. If you enjoyed the first book, don't expect this one too be as good.

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  • Niall
  • 07-28-16

slowish start but give it a chance, trust me

Slowish start but give it a chance, it really gets going. Very well narrated, and a gripping story

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs Christine J Weston
  • 10-14-15

Good listen

I did enjoy listening to this book however I did get lost in the middle and had to re-listen to several of the chapters to get back on track.
It was read well.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • carl
  • 09-13-15

Not as good as the first book

I loved the first book this was the second time reading this book in 4 years, did not like it much very hard to make it to the end

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  • Steven
  • 09-07-16

Continuation of a classic story

I'm hoping for a 4th book now as my interest in this particular universe has been reignited. A good wrap up to the other books as the moties could never really be kept in forever. It's the how and what that makes the story interesting.