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Stealing Light: Shoal, Book 1 | [Gary Gibson]

Stealing Light: Shoal, Book 1

In the 25th century, only the Shoal possess the secret of faster-than-light travel (FTL), giving them absolute control over all trade and exploration throughout the galaxy. Mankind has operated within their influence for two centuries, establishing a dozen human colony worlds scattered along Shoal trade routes. Dakota Merrick, while serving as a military pilot, has witnessed atrocities for which this alien race is responsible.
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Publisher's Summary

In the 25th century, only the Shoal possess the secret of faster-than-light travel (FTL), giving them absolute control over all trade and exploration throughout the galaxy. Mankind has operated within their influence for two centuries, establishing a dozen human colony worlds scattered along Shoal trade routes.

Dakota Merrick, while serving as a military pilot, has witnessed atrocities for which this alien race is responsible. Now piloting a civilian cargo ship, she is currently ferrying an exploration team to a star system containing a derelict star ship. From its wreckage, her passengers hope to salvage a functioning FTL drive of mysteriously non-Shoal origin. But the Shoal are not yet ready to relinquish their monopoly over a technology they acquired through ancient genocide.

©2012 Gary Gibson (P)2012 Audible Ltd

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (113 )
5 star
 (31)
4 star
 (47)
3 star
 (26)
2 star
 (6)
1 star
 (3)
Overall
3.7 (43 )
5 star
 (11)
4 star
 (17)
3 star
 (8)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (2)
Story
3.9 (42 )
5 star
 (13)
4 star
 (17)
3 star
 (9)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (2)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Paul McCulloch 16/08/2012
    Paul McCulloch 16/08/2012 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Great book from Shoal Series"

    Love the way book changed timeline and the different dimensions of the characters, looking forward to audible adding Nova War and Empire of Light soon

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark United Kingdom 22/09/2013
    Mark United Kingdom 22/09/2013 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    125
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent New Sci Fi"

    As a huge fan of Peter Hamilton and Alastair Reynolds I am always on the search for quality "reads" - I think that Gibson has really got something in these novels.

    When I first started I found references that would have been very at home in a Niven Universe (not a bad thing in itself). However, as the story progressed it was obvious that this is anything but the formulaic space opera based on other work.

    The main plot is both grand and intricate, the background that is created feels unique and central characters are very good and well rounded. I did find some of the "baddies" a little one dimensional in that they seemed bad / stupid to the bone which I never like. However, that is actually a minor point. This is an excellent story well written, exciting and captivating.

    Performance was good and very easy to listen too which is very important in a story is to flow nicely.

    Highly recommended.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W. Taylor Stourbridge, West Midlands United Kingdom 13/09/2012
    W. Taylor Stourbridge, West Midlands United Kingdom 13/09/2012 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    1
    Overall
    "Stealing Light maybe, earning a fan, definitely"

    I was absolutely sucked into the characters and universe of this novel. The hours flew by and I was looking forward to every car journey for the 10 days the story lasted me. The narration I found very natural and the challenge of a reasonably large character list including voicing an alien's speech was professionally met. Seeing this narrator's name on an audio's details would always be a welcome sign for me now. The novel itself had a number of original ideas plus a few classic Sci Fi concepts and at times reminded me as much of Altered Carbon as The Mote in God's Eye without being at all derivative. I see that the next book is now available and I will without a doubt be treating myself to it next month. I wholeheartedly recommend this one, go on, give it a go!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Banchory, United Kingdom 01/09/2012
    Mark Banchory, United Kingdom 01/09/2012 Member Since 2006

    MSB

    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    39
    24
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    "Likeable Listen"

    While I was not exactly enthralled by this listen, it was quite inventive and sufficently interesting and well read to want to buy the next one.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M Wakefield, United Kingdom 07/01/2013
    M Wakefield, United Kingdom 07/01/2013 Member Since 2012

    I'm a singing songwriting postie living in Yorkshire. Sometimes I like to be challenged by a book, and sometimes I just want to lose myself.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    67
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    64
    50
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    19
    10
    Overall
    "Very enjoyable."

    This was a wonderful 15 hours of pure audiobook escapism, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There's plenty of action, and the twists and turns in the plot keep the characters on their toes. The writing is fairly straight forward but Charlie Norfolk narrates it wonderfully and got me totally hooked so I'll definitely be carrying on with the trilogy. Great stuff!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    PatM Marlow UK 23/12/2012
    PatM Marlow UK 23/12/2012 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    45
    27
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    5
    Overall
    "Very Enjoyable"

    This is the first time i have listened to a female narrator, her voice for the main character is great however i wasn't so sure about her other voices. Though after the first hour I was immersed in the story and started enjoying the narration style. Now I can't imagine anyone else narrating. Stealing Light is a rip-roaring good space opera and thouroghly enjoyable. I was going on longer walks and couldn't wait to do some ironing just to continue listening! I am so pleased to have the second installment of the series to listen to whilst doing all the Christmas baking!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    F Rijswijk, Netherlands 07/10/2012
    F Rijswijk, Netherlands 07/10/2012 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    22
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "decent leastening"

    A very good set of sci-fi elements. Unfulfilled potential for an epic story. Not enough depth. Some parts of the plot not very "convincing".

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Southampton, United Kingdom 03/03/2014
    Mark Southampton, United Kingdom 03/03/2014 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    7
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "High concept hard SF"

    Beautifully performed with characters very clearly realised, this is well written with some stand out concepts that are well worth the read just for those.

    It is well paced with a plot that moves along quite nicely and strong characterisation helped by an excellent reading. For me, the plot was a little less polished than the writing or the characterisation but is is streets ahead of so much that I have read.

    It is always invidious to compare authors but I couldn't help thinking of Iain M Banks when I listened to this story. It is similar in that it is high tech, high concept SF with a widely spaced and varied humanity scattered over star systems. However, Gibson has a voice of his own.

    Charlie Norfolk did an outstanding job of bringing this to life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Niall Manchester, United Kingdom 21/08/2013
    Niall Manchester, United Kingdom 21/08/2013 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    25
    24
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Poor, Poor Dakota"

    Stealing Light is, essentially, a story about a young woman with a computer brain implant designed to allow her to fly spacecraft better. Unfortunately it also allows other people to control her mind and this unrecognised fault has turned her and her fellow "machine heads" into mass murderers and outlaws. It's also the story of a very intelligent fish on a mission to save the galaxy, and a scientist from a culture of warriors blackmailed into helping some people he hates get their hands on a faster-than-light drive. There is intrigue and danger, and a great big cliffhanger at the end designed to get you to buy the next book.

    Unfortunately, I don't think that worked. I'm intrigued to find out more about the universe Gibson has created, but I don't believe his characters. The fish is the most reasonable and consistent of the lot of them. Both our heroes get their behinds kicked so often it's as if they enjoy it. Our machine head heroine has tried to kill herself before, and yet she seems terribly reluctant to give up on life in circumstances which have killed others of her kind. The scientist seems like a reasonable man, but his actions in the last few pages of the book (or minutes, I read this on audio) seemed to indicate he had lost his marbles. The only reason I can actually come up with for that twist is that the author needed conflict between his protagonists for the next book.

    So, I may pick up the next book in the Shoal sequence, but not for a while. Frankly, I'm fed up of reading about Dakota getting her ribs kicked.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael london, United Kingdom 12/08/2013
    Michael london, United Kingdom 12/08/2013 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    57
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Disappointing after such a strong start"
    Any additional comments?

    Stealing Light disappointed me. It's got a fantastic opening but then proceeds at a snails pace.

    The narrator lacks any real emotion or energy, she reads everything in a lifeless almost monotone.

    The book obsesses over detail to the detriment of the overall story. I got two and a half hours in before getting hopelessly bored. Even after two and a half hours I had no real idea where the story was doing or why I should care about any of the characters. I'd advise skipping this.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 11 results PREVIOUS12NEXT
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  • C. Hartmann
    New York, NY
    13/08/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Cool character & plot ! Do you like Chase Colpath?"

    Smart tough female lead character. Fairly hard sci-fi. I always wonder, with the great success of Jack McDevitt's character Chase Kolpath and Weber's Honor Harrington, why there aren't more tough female leads in sci-fi. Look at what Neal Stephenson has been able to do at times. I'm also a sucker for great narration. I haven't heard Charlie Norfolk narrate before -- but what a great talent. This starts in three plots that come together....and when they do it is a real fast ride.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Douglas
    Clovis, CA, United States
    04/10/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very Entertaining-Will buy the rest of the series"

    This one starts a little slow, but hang in there. Ms. Norfolk's accent takes about 15 minutes to get used to, then she is an easy listen. The story is first rate hard science fiction with very good characterization and an amazingly interesting and complex plot line. All kinds of fun Perils of Pauline moments, which you know will generally turn out well, but not quite the way you expected. I am going to take a break and listen to Weber's latest turgidity in the Safehold series. I am sure he will drive me back to the Gibson/Norfolk team for clean, clear, directed characters, plots, and interesting speculative science and history.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • C. L. Turner
    Provo, Utah, United States
    14/08/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fun, entertaining, something borrowed."

    This is a good story that has definitely borrowed from classics like Ringworld. Definitely worth a listen and very enjoyable. It has some good originality, so don't worry, it's not a re-hash of old material.

    There is a down side. The narrator, while quite good! Gets a bit confused with names every once in a while and mixes one character with another. This is a problem...but does not cause too many problems in the end if you're paying attention.

    Now the fun part, accents, characters, language and personalities. This novel builds on more to come (a lot more), so stay tuned!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Jeff Smith
    albia, IA, United States
    29/05/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "slow..............................."

    the books sounds ok . it looks ok but iv tried 3 time i have never gotten past part one.
    it never got my attention and i just gave up on it . not worth my credit

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Richard
    FOXBORO, MA, United States
    24/05/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not sure at first, but well worth it."

    Wasn't sure what I was getting into when I first got this book, but I soon found out it was well worth the purchase. First and foremost this book has a very good plot. But along with that the story is very well written and grabs your attention.

    The reader does a good but not great job telling the story.

    The story really heats up at about the mid point until the end. By the end of this I knew I would be getting the next book in the series.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • William
    Winter Park, FL, United States
    11/03/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Fun!"

    Stealing Light by Gary Gibson is the first book in The Shoal series. This book is my kind of book. I consumed it eagerly via Audible. Yes, it has it's faults as many other reviewers have noted, but due to the excellent reader (Charlie Norfolk), the book came alive and the faults fall quickly to the background.

    It was fun and full of action. It is like an Alastair Reynolds Revelation Space, Jack McDevitt's Alex Benedict and Kristine Kathryn Rusch's Diving Universe book combined!

    Highly recommended as an Audiobook listen!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Connor
    North Carolina
    18/05/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Long Time Getting to the Point"

    This is the story of a tough, independent woman making her living in the 25th Century as a space ship pilot. She may have broken a few laws and now must accept questionable jobs from shady people. The 25th Century technology is excellent and the last third of the book is riveting. My complaint was the other 70% of the book. My mind kept wandering and I could not decide if it was me or the book.

    Overall, the book's beginning and middle are slow and somewhat confusing while the ending is a fun listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Jeff Tipling
    17/05/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Does not track"
    What disappointed you about Stealing Light: Shoal, Book 1?

    the multiple time jumps and non consistent time indexes.


    What could Gary Gibson have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Used a standard calander.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Charlie Norfolk?

    Was not Narrator problem


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Stealing Light: Shoal, Book 1?

    Would not cut but would fix timing for listening audience.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • SciFi Kindle
    Cheshire, CT USA
    29/01/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A slow, but promising start"

    Beholden to a star-faring alien race called The Shoal for all of it's interstellar transport, humanity finds itself divided and perpetually powerless in the galactic community of Gibson's story. When a derelict ship of unknown but ancient origin is discovered, opportunists race to exploit it's secrets for humanity's "Escape", but wrapped up in the same technology that makes transluminal travel possible is a dark secret that The Shoal is determined to preserve. The protagonist, Dakota Merrick, is a fiercely independent pilot, and works to uncover the truth while being coerced into helping an ambitious politician claim the prize. I enjoyed the final chapters of climax and plot revelation, although it seemed a long slow narrative road to get there, with frequent moments of déjà vu dialog. However, knowing this is the first part of a trilogy of stories, I am optimistic that the subsequent stories will open up onto a vaster canvas of settings and characters, and with any luck, explore the Shoal and other alien races more closely.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-9 of 9 results

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