Lightless : The Lightless Trilogy

  • by C. A. Higgins
  • Narrated by Fiona Hardingham
  • Series: The Lightless Trilogy
  • 11 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

With deeply moving human drama, nail-biting suspense - and bold speculation informed by a degree in physics - C. A. Higgins spins a riveting science fiction debut guaranteed to catapult listeners beyond their expectations.
Serving aboard the Ananke, an experimental military spacecraft launched by the ruthless organization that rules Earth and its solar system, computer scientist Althea has established an intense emotional bond - not with any of her crewmates but with the ship's electronic systems, which speak more deeply to her analytical mind than human feelings do. But when a pair of fugitive terrorists gain access to the Ananke, Althea must draw upon her heart and soul for the strength to defend her beloved ship.
While one of the saboteurs remains at large somewhere onboard, his captured partner - the enigmatic Ivan - may prove to be more dangerous. The perversely fascinating criminal whose silver tongue is his most effective weapon has long evaded the authorities' most relentless surveillance - and kept the truth about his methods and motives well hidden.
As the ship's systems begin to malfunction and the claustrophobic atmosphere is increasingly poisoned by distrust and suspicion, it falls to Althea to penetrate the prisoner's layers of intrigue and deception before all is lost. But when the true nature of Ivan's mission is exposed, it will change Althea forever - if it doesn't kill her first.


Audible Editor Reviews

"The stakes in this story are high - life and death, rebellion and betrayal - and debut novelist Higgins continually ratchets up the tension...." (Kirkus Reviews)


What the Critics Say

"Absolutely brilliant.... This is science fiction as it is meant to be done: scientific concepts wedded to and built upon human ideals." (Seanan McGuire, New York Times best-selling author of the October Daye series)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Awful narrator

I could not get through the first chapter. The narrator voice is a constant drone. I don't know if the problem is with the narrator or/and the story. Nothing grab my attention.
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- Cheri

Psychologically Gripping Space Opera

Lightless is a psychologically driven novel that focuses on its characters more than anything else, so if you prefer your space operas fast and furious, this book may prove to be too slow for your speed. The story unfolds layers at a time as readers try to piece together what’s real and what’s not as the characters wage psychological warfare against one another. As the story soldiers on, you begin to see frayed edges of the main characters–their weaknesses, their prejudices, their fatal flaws. Despite their beliefs that they’re good at what they do, they fall apart. The ship’s continuing problems further aggravates this by playing into the familiar theme of man versus machine, which creates a tense backdrop that culminates to a chaotic, explosive end. Higgins employs the laws of thermodynamics to frame this narrative, using it to allude to the environment on the ship and the interactions of the characters with one another, their interactions with the galaxy/power structure at large, and their interactions with the ship itself.

"The amount of work done in one direction is the same as the amount of heat transferred in the other, or, the internal energy of an isolated system is constant. Because of this, a perpetual motion machine cannot exist, and all systems come to an end."

As interesting as this deconstruction of her characters was, and while I certainly understand why she went the direction she did with some characters, it didn’t stop me from feeling as if certain characters were a joke, a really bad joke. There were moments when I just felt these characters were completely incompetent and stupid, but that could go hand-in-hand with the overestimation of their abilities. However, I enjoyed this story, so I can forgive that.

Now, this book does suffer from being a bit too “talk-y.” I would expect a story like this to be more action oriented, to really capitalize on the claustrophobic, isolated feel of the setting, but a large portion of this book revolves around two characters conversing around the sections of the novel that focus on Althea and the ship. There’s nothing wrong with that, but in this case, it made the story feel tedious at times. There had to be better ways to convey the information they exchanged than to have two characters literally sitting in a room together going back and forward for a huge chunk of the novel. While I love a good psychological story, I expected much more to happen in this story than what actually happened. In fact, I feel like the last third of the book is where the pace really picked up and showcased the best of this story.

Fiona Hardingham narrated the story with the kind of straightforwardness you’d expect from a novel in this vein. While most of her men sounded largely the same, she did an excellent job with the female characters’ voices, especially a cold, calculated character named Ida Stays.

If you don’t enjoy “hard” science fiction, don’t fret. Aside from these brief passages about the laws of thermodynamics, the science in this novel is easy to grasp. The science is almost secondary to the conflict. Higgins has created an absorbing and thoughtful read with Lightless. Sabotage, intrigue, and terrorism meets loyalty, freedom, and even a hint of humor in this story. I’m definitely looking forward to visiting this universe again in Supernova, especially to see if we’ll be diving into the larger conflict now that we’ve established the characters.
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- T. L. Walker "Sometimes the appropriate response to reality is to go insane. Reviewer at BiblioSanctum."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-29-2015
  • Publisher: Random House Audio