Berserkers

  • by Fred Saberhagen
  • Narrated by Barrett Whitener
  • 15 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

There had been a battle. The berserker had met some terrible opponent, and had taken a terrible wound. A cavity two miles wide and 50 miles deep had been driven in by a sequence of shaped atomic charges, through level after level of machinery, deck after deck of armor and had been stopped only by the last inner defenses of the buried unliving heart. The berserker had survived and crushed its enemy, and soon after, its repair machines had sealed over the outer opening of the wound, using extra thicknesses of armor. When Hemphill sees the blasted cavity, what little of it his tiny spacesuit lamp can show, he feels a shrinking fear greater than any in his memory. Stopping on the edge of the void with his arm instinctively around Maria, he is stunned by the realization of just what fighting the berserker means. They have already come an hour's journey from the airlock, through weightless vacuum inside the great machine. Hemphill, his pistol ready, has a bomb, and 200 feet of cord tied around his left arm, when he recognizes the once-molten edge of the berserker's great scar for what it is: the damned thing has survived a level of attempted destruction that not only had hardly weakened it, but rendered the bomb Hemphill carried under his arm only a pathetic toy.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The way it was written

Perhaps the narration style was a bit dry, but in fact, that's how the book was written. I picked up this recording by accident, having confused it with the Bolo series by Keith Laumer. The concept is similar: war machines gone out of control and surviving through the ages to wreak havoc on later generations. It's an imaginative concept, leading to interesting stories by both authors. Getting back to this book, though, Saberhagen packages a bunch of short stories as historical research by an objective narrator. The characters' thoughts and actions are there, but are often minimalized. The short stories were probably written at different times and collected into this work. I say this because the style seems to change from time to time.
So, did I like it? Let me first say that THIS BOOK IS NOT THE BEGINNING of the series - it was published later and meant to capitalize on the success of the series. It provides some backstory and context for the other berserker stories. I liked it as a survey work, not as a story in and of itself. This book should be read AFTER one or more of the other Berserker books. I think the narrator did a decent job given the material, but ask yourself whether you would prefer to read a history book yourself, or have it read to you? Having said that, I did listen to the book all the way through again, and enjoyed it despite the fact it got rather slow-paced in places.
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- Daniel

My Best First Audible Book

My original plan was to get the three free books and cancel before they month was up. Then I got hooked. "Berserkers: The Beginning" was one of my first listens. I had read one or two of Fred Saberhagen's Berserker books years ago and like them, but never spent the time to track down and read them in any organized fashion as I did with Alan Dean Foster’s books, David Brin's books, etc. I am hooked now and a platinum member. This was an excellent Berserker book, and probably the best of the lot that I've listened to:

Berserkers: The Beginning (*****)
Berserker Planet (*** 1/2)
Berserker Man (*** 1/2)
The Berserker Throne (*** 1/2)
Berserker Blue Death (****)

As you can see, I liked them all. If Audible offered a 1/2 star, I would have given the three listed as three stars three and one-half stars. Blue Death was also very good. All are worth a listen.
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- Jeffery

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-12-2003
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.