Empire of Light: Shoal, Book 3

  • by Gary Gibson
  • Narrated by Charlie Norfolk
  • 14 hrs and 8 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In the third Shoal book, the nova war has begun to spread as the Emissaries force the Shoal into a desperate retreat. While Dakota goes in search of the entity responsible for creating the Maker caches, Corso, left in charge of a fleet of Magi ships, finds his authority crumbling in the face of politically-motivated sabotage. If any hope exists at all, it lies in an abandoned asteroid a thousand light-years away, and with Ty Whitecloud, the only man alive who can decipher messages left behind by an ancient starfaring race. Unfortunately Whitecloud is imprisoned aboard a coreship adrift in space, awaiting execution for war crimes. But if humanity has any hope of survival, Corso is going to have to find some way to keep him alive - and that's only if Dakota doesn't kill him first.


What the Critics Say

"Gripping, imaginative and morally complex...adds up to a compulsive read." (SFX)
"[S]takes his claim to be considered alongside the leading triumvirate of British hard SF writers." (The Guardian)
"A violent, inventive, relentlessly gripping adventure ... intelligently written and thought-provoking." (The Times)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

lost it for me

first book was great, 2nd book was good. now the 3rd book just lost it for me. I just could not get to love or like the people in the 3rd book maybe it's just me!
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- William

Great setup, then stalls despite fast pace

Like a lot of threequels, this read isn’t for those who haven’t already digested the previous installment novels. Not only do many of the background conflicts and events rely on an understanding of those books, but the history between the major characters is found there, too. This is no criticism, however. A lot of series these days try too hard to be a ‘big tent’ for an expanding readership, that early chapters drag with exposition and ‘catch-me-up’ material. If Tolkien felt compelled to do this, he would have needed another hundred pages. I personally prefer when authors treat the reader with enough respect to trust us to remember (or re-read) important previous material- that’s what all the fan Wikis are for, right?

No, my peeve with this story is that it starts off extremely promisingly, with a collection of characters and motives that are all appealing, both new and returning, with those in the latter category having undergone substantial personal evolution between novels. They are drawn together and undertake a hero’s journey in the form of an expedition into hostile alien territory, further outside of human space than anyone has ever traveled before. And then, with this spectacular set up, the remainder of the story devolves into a finger-pointing mystery among the characters to uncover the infiltrator in their midst. This would have been welcome in a moderated dosage; a sideplot that allows the greater focus to move on to more wondrous, alien, Space Opera, big concepts. However, the story really spiraled into one betrayal after another, and while this kept the tension and action quite high, I feel like it missed an opportunity to accomplish both of those things more engagingly using external threats. It’s possible I feel this way only because of how stupendous the epilogue was in this regard, and it reminded me of all the things that later half of the story proper missed. While this bodes well for my enjoyment of the 4th installment novel, Marauder, it did cause my attention to drift at moments.
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- SciFi Kindle

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-24-2012
  • Publisher: Audible Studios