House of Suns

  • by Alastair Reynolds
  • Narrated by John Lee
  • 18 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Six million years ago, at the very dawn of the starfaring era, Abigail Gentian fractured herself into a thousand male and female clones: the shatterlings. Sent out into the galaxy, these shatterlings have stood aloof as they document the rise and fall of countless human empires. They meet every 200,000 years to exchange news and memories of their travels with their siblings.Not only are Campion and Purslane late for their 30-second reunion but they have also brought along an amnesiac golden robot for a guest. But the wayward shatterlings get more than the scolding they expect: they face the discovery that someone has a very serious grudge against the Gentian line, and there is a very real possibility of traitors in their midst. The surviving shatterlings have to dodge exotic weapons while they regroup to try to solve the mystery of who is persecuting them and why---before their ancient line is wiped out of existence forever.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Science fiction in Deep time

Alastair Reynolds is one of the few great writers of hard science fiction space operas working today (Vernor Vinge and Charlie Stross are others). A key premise of the book is that faster-than-light travel is just as impossible in the future as it seems today, so the characters in the novel maintain a unique existence over millions of years by traveling at relativistic speeds and placing themselves in long-term suspended animation. The result explores one of Reynold's favorite topics: Deep Time, where trips between stars take thousands of years and civilizations rise and fall as the characters complete 100,000 year circuits of the galaxy.

This serves as context for a slow-building, but fascinating tale, for which the less said, the better for you, as a listener. It takes a long time to realize the central conflict, with much action on the way, but the pieces come together satisfyingly.

The common criticism on Audible seems to be that the book is "too long" or that the ending is unsatisfying. I disagree on both counts: the ending is remarkably good, and the length seems perfect, especially for epic science fiction. If you like your science fiction hard, this is a great choice.
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- Ethan M.

Enjoyed greatly

After listening to three other Alastair Reynolds books I'd have to say I enjoyed this one the most. I was a bit skeptical about the idea of shatterlings when I read the summary before listening and wondered if the idea was too complex to support a good story line. It was a bit confusing at first, but then came together very nicely. It really made me think about the passage of deep time. I also think narrator John Lee does a great job.
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- Lang

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-25-2009
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio