Humankind has escaped a dying Earth and set out to find a new home among the stars aboard an immense generation ship affectionately named the Ark. Bryan Benson is the Ark's greatest living sports hero, enjoying retirement working as a detective in Avalon, his home module. The hours are good, the work is easy, and the perks can't be beat.
But when a crew member goes missing, Bryan is thrust into the center of an ever-expanding web of deception, secrets, and violence that overturns everything he knows about living on the Ark and threatens everyone aboard. As the last remnants of humanity hurtle toward their salvation, Bryan finds himself in a desperate race to unravel the conspiracy before a madman turns mankind's home into its tomb.
I wanted to like this book. I'll try the next one in the series. The concept is clever and the possibilities enormous. BUT. The writing needs tightening and editing, better character development,a stronger story arc and something I can only call heart. It kept almost catching fire, then fwizzle.Narration was decent, not enough to save it though.
45 of 49 people found this review helpful
50,000 people on a generation ship. The ship left Earth 300 years earlier and they are getting ready to colonize Tau Ceti. Benson was a Zero Hero sport star who retired. He is given a job as a constable. Pretty easy job, since there is almost no crime. The original 50,000 who left Earth were tested and screened. Those with aggressive tendencies in their family were rejected. All of a sudden a man goes missing. How does a man go missing on a space ship?
This book is good, but not great. I liked the main character and his girlfriend, she is pretty feisty. I like how the Science is cool, without being overly complicated. Several times I chuckled. The book is more mystery/detective than Sci-Fi. Even though a man is killed and attempts are made on Benson's life, I never felt any suspense or any intensity. I need more before I give out that 5th star.
16 of 17 people found this review helpful
What a great story. I love how the author starts off .... Don't you just hate get interrupted during a good game? Like I said, there's a mix of scifi with mystery genres and it's not sci-fi lite, in my opinion. There is a good description of what the tech and life would be like 200 years from now on a space ark. And the mystery was right on as I didn't see a few things coming. This book stands alone, but I can't wait for the next one in this series. So come on Patrick Tomlinson and finish up the next one.
The narrator really did a good job as well. I've never listened to him before, but I've already started looking at other books he's narrated.
24 of 30 people found this review helpful
I tried, but I just could listen to the narrator. I'm sure the book itself is satisfactory, but the story just couldn't shine through the narration. At least, that how it was for me.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
The narrator was simply terrible. Flat, monotone, strange stilted pronunciations. I couldn't keep my mind on the story and gave up 1 hour in. I will be returning this one.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
This is a fascinating combination of sci-fi and police investigation! What makes it so different is that investigative procedures and techniques have been lost during the several hundred years the ark has been in flight. So our Chief Constable makes error after error that more sophisticated investigators would not! You know better, but he doesn't.
The ultimate answers to the murder are surprising, but still very human. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next installment. Mr. Tomlinson, write faster!
21 of 31 people found this review helpful
It is an okay book - the sci-fi component is in setting only, and the mystery is more a result of blundering incompetence than any intentional mystery. But that isn't really what the problem was: the problem is that the author needs a bit more refinement (practice) - everything is just a bit too dramatic, and the lecturing is just a bit too unsubtle (i.e. you won't be wondering where the author sits in terms of human violence, nuclear weapons, child-rearing rights, and gay rights)...
He needs a bit more subtlety... looks like it is a new author, which would make sense... it has the feel of someone who is just getting their writing under control, but still needs to figure out how real people talk to each other, in books.
That, and the suspense was written out of the mystery - too many interruptions with art history, and too much weak conversation to allow for much tension to develop. And it doesn't help that we don't really like any of the characters - they are just kinda "there".
The narration is sufficient - nothing great, nothing glaring, though the accents were a bit off. There is nothing graphic here (though I think I recall a solitary swear word which struck me as odd and out of place otherwise). I would probably read another in this series because there is potential here, given more practice.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
At times The Ark slogs into long swaths of painful awkwardness. From writing to characters to the universe the author created. Everything feels off and poorly conceived.
At other times, Tomlinson pulls it off and the story moves with a grace that feels effortless.
I have to give it to the author. This is a cool idea. I like the concept of a caste society on a space ship that has been traveling for generations across the star. I like the combination of sci fi and film noir.
In sci fi, its important to have a back story/universe that is well thought through. Instead I often felt like Tomlinson was combining the people from a 1980s time with a Bogart 1930's tough guy film. Then on top of that adding in a poorly imagined future.
Lastly, I did NOT like Willis as the narrator here. His inflections do not lend themselves to a hard boiled story. It also felt like he was mailing this one in and did not admire what he was reading. Instead it felt like he was practicing many different story telling styles throughout this book.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
The Ark by Patrick S. Tomlinson is the first novel in the series called Children of a Dead Earth. Bryan Benson is a detective on a gigantic space ship called the Ark. Many generations ago, a sampling of humankind was put onto the Ark to escape destruction. Every person on the ship is equipped with an implant tracker that tracks not only their position, but also every aspect of their lives. So when a crew member goes missing, a surprised Benson is called in. The clues begin to reveal an unsettling trail that imply that the missing crew member didn’t simply commit suicide, but something more nefarious might be at play. As Benson travels to places on the ship that he didn’t know exists and meets with the mostly unlikely allies and enemies, he begins to see the status quo of the ship with new eyes. His investigation threatens to not only solve the mystery, but also lead him to the brink of death.
I really enjoyed this novel - I listened to it in almost one go. Benson is a funny and likable character and his interactions with different characters are fun to listen to. The mystery of the missing crew member is really engrossing, especially as this one seemingly minor missing persons case snowballs into a massive conspiracy involving many unexpected characters. The clues are revealed at a good pace that keep the reader interested. Tomlinson did a great job creating complex interesting characters that I quickly became engrossed in in addition to the mystery. The head of the museum and her parts were some of my favorite parts of the novel. As the mystery is unfolding, there are really nice glimpses into relationships, characters, and aspects of the Ark that could have been detracted from the story, but instead they made it so much sharper. These tangential stories helped build up the complexity of the world that these characters are living in. I’m really looking forward to reading the next novel and seeing how the lives of these characters progress. This novel ends with a definite climax and end, but creates a path for the story to continue in the coming novels really well.
The narration by Mirron Willis was really good. I think he did a great job with most of the characters. The accents did not sound as tight as they could’ve been, but they were consistent and the characters were distinguishable. The production quality was good as well. I would recommend this novel to anyone who likes space mysteries and stories about the journey for the survival of the human race.
Audiobook was purchased for review by ABR.
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7 of 12 people found this review helpful
Deep Impact/Armageddon meets Passengers in the murder mystery realm. If you like those movies, this would be worth a read/listen. It is well presented in audiobook format, technical aspects of the travel are presented well enough to make you comfortable with the technology and there's some futuristic sports with it too.