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Stealing Light: Shoal, Book 1

Narrated by: Charlie Norfolk
Series: Shoal, Book 1
Length: 14 hrs and 52 mins
4.0 out of 5 stars (169 ratings)

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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 listeners say about Stealing Light: Shoal, Book 1

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • M
  • 07-01-13

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 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

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 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great space opera

Galaxy spanning civilizations, super science, vast conspiracies and god-like aliens, what's not to like, highly recommended.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Well read space opera

I am come late to Gary Gibson. Having tried one of his books before, I wasn't grabbed by it. However as an audio book this tale of high intrugue and lost super technology was quite entertaining. The supercilious intelligent fish with a Japanese accent was a novel and effective touch.

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  • EK
  • 24-07-15

Good collection of Sci-fi ideas, nicely executed

Would you consider the audio edition of Stealing Light: Shoal, Book 1 to be better than the print version?

I haven't read the print version, however found the manner and character distinction of the narrator (Charlie) very engaging.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The lead character Dakota is thoroughly likeable and the narrative delves into the human psyche, taps our self loathing nature, our insignificance and inability to deal with past failings.

What does Charlie Norfolk bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Found the manner and character distinction of the narrator (Charlie) very engaging.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Not initially, however very quickly the story unfolded leaving me feeling like I needed more. Put it this way, I didn't hesitate in purchasing the second (and third!) in the series.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

It's a space soap (opera)

My daily read is while commuting in the car, so through experience worked out that this needs something 1) long (2 hours each way) 2) Not too complex as you can't concentrate while driving 3) Engaging enough to survive the first two requirements.

On that front the fits the bill perfectly. It's space opera scifi, a little simplistic and not altogether rooted in true hard science, but it's fun and undemanding, with an interesting core character (Dakota). Is it top class scifi, a la Reynolds or the old masters? No, it isn't. But it's perfect for a little trashy escapism, and it's plus points counter the flaws. I have the other two books already to brighten up the dark winter drives

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  • C. Hartmann
  • 13-08-12

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.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Douglas E. Noll
  • 04-10-12

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.

6 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Jeff
  • 29-05-13

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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • C. L. Turner
  • 14-08-12

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 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Tim P Rogers
  • 03-03-20

Decent story - awful narration

Gibson’s latest work is so-so with some good ideas, if they don’t really get looked into very deeply. The Shoal could have been more interesting, and it was a decent concept, but ultimately a fish super alien is just hard to believe. If you don’t have fire or electronics it is hard to evolve so picking a race of sentient fish was just a bad idea. Apply the same logic to almost any other type of land animal and it would have been much more believable. As for the characters, they were also just so-so with not a ton of depth, but you don’t outright hate the two or three primary protagonists. However, the ancillary characters are not great and become cartoonish at times. By the end of the book I just barely cared about any of them. The real problem with the Audible version of this book is the God-awful narrator Charlie Norfolk. Sitting through her (and yes, Charlie is a woman) try to act our voices, in particular the ship, is just terrible. There is no other way to say it. If I ever see “Charlie Norfolk” in the credits of any other book, no matter how much I like the author, it will be a hard pass for me. I would simply read this book - and I love Audible narrations for my daily drives - or just pass on this title. I can’t stress enough how awful this narrator was. Every single time I fired up a chapter I would grit my teeth immediately upon hearing her voice. Do yourself a favor and find something else to listen to!

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 25-02-17

Performer does terrible voices

This is awful reading she does voices like a grandmother reading to her children it's able to ruin the book it's a Damn shame.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • SciFi Kindle
  • 29-01-14

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.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Richard
  • 24-05-13

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 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • William
  • 11-03-13

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 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Jeff Tipling
  • 17-05-14

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 person found this helpful