Eve: The Empyrean Age

( 41 )


A clone with no name or past awakens to a cruel existence, hunted mercilessly for crimes he may never know; yet he stands close to the pinnacle of power in New Eden.

A disgraced ambassador is confronted by a mysterious woman who knows everything about him, and of the sinister plot against his government; his actions will one day unleash the vengeful wrath of an entire civilization.

And among the downtrodden ...

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EVE: The Empyrean Age

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A clone with no name or past awakens to a cruel existence, hunted mercilessly for crimes he may never know; yet he stands close to the pinnacle of power in New Eden.

A disgraced ambassador is confronted by a mysterious woman who knows everything about him, and of the sinister plot against his government; his actions will one day unleash the vengeful wrath of an entire civilization.

And among the downtrodden masses of a corporation-owned world, a man named Tibus Heth is about to launch a revolution that will change the course of history.

The confluence of these dark events will lead humanity towards a tragic destiny. The transcendence of man to the dream of immortality has bred a quest for power like none before it; empires spanning across thousands of stars will clash in the depths of space and on the worlds within. Those who stand before the tides of war, willingly or not, must face the fundamental choices that have been with man for tens of thousands of years, unchanged since the memory of Earth was lost.

This is EVE, The Empyrean Age. A test of our convictions and the will to survive.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765363909
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 8/4/2009
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 672
  • Sales rank: 577,318
  • Product dimensions: 4.12 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Tony Gonzales was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1973. He graduated from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey with a BA in Political Science in 1995, and has an MBA from Rutgers University. He is a Lead Writer for CCP Games in Reykjavik, Iceland, and is the author of two EVE Online novellas, Ruthless and Theodicy. EVE: The Empyrean Age is his first published work.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The first experience of life was a bright point of light followed by the sound of distant, muted whispers. A flood of sensory information registered self-awareness, when just before there was only a sea of blackness. A new mind took inventory of the world surrounding him: his chest, rising and falling with the sensation of air rushing into his lungs; the taste of saliva and the contraction of throat muscles as he swallowed; hands that opened and closed into fists as he commanded; all virgin experiences, so it seemed, for a man who was just born inside a coffin.

Lying supine, he blinked several times, struggling to make sense of his narrow confines. A glass shield was just inches from his face, where he gazed with frustrating uncertainty upon a reflection that was his own. An older man, with creases stretched across a high forehead and steel-grey eyes set upon severe cheekbones, returned the bewildered stare.

Who am I? this lost soul asked, struggling to reach backwards in time for a memory or reference, anything to place this surreal state of being into context. But there was nothing there, and the sea of blackness prevailed.

As he tried to lift his shoulders, a medical device descended from inside the chamber and passed a bluish light over the entire length of his body. It was then that he realized the base of his skull was fastened to the bed's surface, and that the connection was through a metallic socket implanted directly into the bone.

I am a capsuleer, he realized, peering through the glass at a ceiling high above. One of the immortals, but . . . what happened to me? The device hovered over his squinting eyes before an artificial voice spoke softly:

'Good morning. Your vital signs are excellent. Try to relax while I assess the rebuilding progress of your temporal lobe. Scanning . . .'

With the centre light focusing on his eyes, additional beams were projected onto his face. Then he felt a tingling sensation in the back of his head.

'I'm going to ask you several questions,' the voice continued. He found her voice soothing, despite its artificial tone. 'Do you know what today's date is?'

'No,' he answered. 'Where am I?'

The voice remained impassive, but gentle. 'Do you know what your name is?'

He was about to answer 'No' in desperation again when a bright flash illuminated the room beyond the glass, followed by a loud muffled thud that shook the chamber. He felt his pulse accelerate as his instincts registered danger for the first time.

'Good morning. Your vital signs are excellent,' the automated voice repeated. 'Try to relax while I . . . Good morning. Your vital signs are . . .'

The device hovering above him flickered once, and then retracted back into its lair. He realized that a new face was staring at him through the glass, and that the predatory look in this stranger's eyes was reason enough to be very afraid.

With a series of mechanical clicks and hisses, the chamber's lid began to open.

Hidden above the chamber was a camera lens, one of hundreds located throughout the starship. Optical data was routed directly into a cybernetic implant which, like the man inside the chamber, was embedded within the skull of the ship's pilot. Using onboard processors and the raw computing power of his cerebral cortex, telemetry was converted into ocular images that he could therefore 'see', despite being hundreds of metres away from the chamber itself.

Terrifying events were unfolding before him: an assassin had infiltrated the ship, sealed himself in the cargo bay, activated the CRU (Clone Reanimation Unit) prematurely, and was now moments away from murdering the most important figure in Theology Council history.

The same cybernetic implant feeding data to the pi lot's brain made his ship a natural extension of his own physical self. All he needed was to will his starship into action, and his biochemical signals were translated into digital instructions that were executed immediately by automated systems or the hundreds of crew members onboard. Because of this union between man and machine, the ship could react as quickly as its pi lot could think - but only if he knew how to act. Dealing with onboard saboteurs was a situation that had, until now, been unthinkable.

Opening a command channel through the cruiser's subspace communication arrays, the pi lot watched helplessly as the assassin stood over the CRU and began taunting the vulnerable clone of Falek Grange.

'Lord Victor, we have an emergency,' the pilot said.

'Lieutenant Thornsson,' the stern voice replied from dozens of light years away. 'Go ahead.'

'We escaped from Karsoth's forces and survived a Covenant ambush,' the pi lot replied. 'But there's an assassin onboard and—'

The pilot lost his concentration as the attacker's clenched, metal-plated fist crashed down upon Falek Grange's face, spraying droplets of blood across the room.

DESPITE THE PHYSICAL appearance of an older man, this incarnation of Falek Grange was less than five minutes old. Every cell in his body was an exact replica of the original man, who by now had been dead for almost forty minutes. Although the brain of this clone contained elemental knowledge artificially distilled from simulated life experiences that an older man should have, in this case the core attributes of Falek's original personality and personal memories were absent. A person awakening in this state has knowledge, but lacks the understanding of why he knows what he does.

To call this condition 'amnesia' would be inaccurate, for the term implies that there was once a memory to lose. This was far worse. For Falek Grange, there were no memories. Every experience from now on would seem both new and distantly familiar all at once.

But there was nothing familiar about the horrid violence that Falek was enduring now. With each blow, Falek could feel both skin and bone breaking beneath the assailant's mailed fists. Every strike was perfectly placed to inflict maximum pain; just when Falek thought he would lose consciousness, the assassin instructed the CRU to inject him with enough adrenaline to keep him awake. With his head still attached to the neural interface and his hands clamped to the chamber walls, Falek was helpless to defend himself.

When the sparks of pain and numbing disorientation parted for just a moment, he gurgled out a single, pleading question:

'Why …?'

The assassin - a much younger man, with features similar to Falek's - removed his gauntlets, unveiling thick, calloused hands. As if in prayer, he murmured a series of phrases in a foreign language, closing his eyes while speaking.

Then he pressed both his hands into the deep, symmetric lacerations on Falek's eye sockets and jawbone.

'Unholy beast! THORNSSON raged as he watched Falek scream. 'The assassin is Covenant!'

'You have to seal him inside the CRU,' Victor answered. 'Force it shut if you have to—'

'I can't! He disabled the hatch - my crew can't get inside!'

The assassin raised both blood-soaked hands upwards as if to make an offering, and then lowered them to allow droplets of the crimson fluid to fall into his mouth.

'There's nothing they can do at all?' Victor pleaded.

'They're trying everything to break in,' the pilot replied.

'We don't stow any explosives onboard to blast through . . .'

He thought about that for a moment, and then added:

'Unless . . .'

'A PITY THAT you'll never know your crimes,' the assassin said, manipulating the bloody controls of the CRU. 'They are too numerous to mention in the time we have left.'

Falek Grange would have sobbed if he could; his eyes were swollen shut as his body rushed fluids to the trauma sites on his face. But the physical pain was no less excruciating than the mental anguish of not knowing if this cruel fate was deserved.

A shudder wracked his aching body as the locking shunt connecting his implant to the CRU withdrew from his skull.

'My master has passed judgment on you,' the assassin continued, placing one hand over Falek's disfigured face and running it slowly towards his neck. 'It is my devoted honour to serve him.'

Using his free hand, the assassin brandished a small sceptre. As Falek felt the grip around his neck tighten, he wished for the nothingness that was before the whispers brought him to life.

'This will purge New Eden of your curse once and for all.'

'YOUR CLONES HAVE been destroyed, as all of ours have,' Victor warned. 'You know what that means!'

'I believe in her, my lord,' Thornsson said, swallowing hard as the assassin forcibly yanked Falek upright by his neck and positioned the sceptre beneath his head. 'And she believed in him.'

With a single thought, Lieutenant Thornsson armed the self-destruct sequence for his ship.

'This is all I can do to save him,' he said, just as the assassin thrust the back of Falek's exposed skull downward. 'Tell her that I did this for her glory . . .'

'She already knows, my friend,' Victor replied.

FALEK HAD LITTLE time to scream as the electrically charged sceptre made brief contact with the implant's socket, producing a sickening flash of white and red. As the surrounding tissue vaporized along with metal, the lid of the CRU forcibly closed down, knocking the sceptre loose and forcing the assassin to release his choking grip. Falek collapsed, unconscious, onto his back within the chamber as the lid shut completely and formed an airtight seal. The last thing the enraged assassin would ever see was a reinforced blast shield rise from the floor and enclose the CRU, where his prey continued to breathe.

Powered by an aneutronic fusion reactor, the Prophecy-class battle-cruiser pi loted by Lieutenant Thornsson relied on magnetic containment fields to regulate the flow of plasma used for propulsion. If these fields collapsed, the plasma would scatter internally and destroy the surrounding structure.

They also served as the primary self-destruct mechanism for the ship.

Lieutenant Thornsson was sacrificing himself and his crew in a desperate attempt to save the life of Falek Grange. Normally occurring after a sixty-second countdown, the fail-safes regulating the fields were instructed to switch off earlier, making it impossible for anyone onboard to escape. In the exact instant when the blast shield locked into place over the CRU, the containment fields ceased, and the engine room's plasma began incinerating everything in its path, eating its way back into the fusion reactor within seconds.

Expanding outwards in every direction, the resulting explosion tore the ship in two, obliterating the decks leading up to the forward superstructure. Fragments of superheated debris travelling at immense speeds perforated every remaining section of the ship. For the crew closest to the engine room at the time of the blast, death came as quickly as a thought. For those in the forward compartments, there may have been just enough time to grasp the severity of what was happening, but not much more.

For Falek Grange, the experience was the same as the blackness from which he had emerged. Protected by the blast shield, the CRU continued to function, keeping him alive for the time being. Suspended inside the chamber, he floated among the ruins of a shattered starship, unwillingly clinging to an existence whose single memory was of being tortured and beaten to within an inch of his life.


Copyright © 2008 by CCP hf.

Published in August 2009 by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 41 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 41 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011

    From an EVE player...

    I've played EVE on and off since 2004. I'm currently without a computer capable of playing the game so I thought I'd pick this up to immerse myself in the world I'm missing.

    Gonzalez does a fantastic job of capturing not only the details of the different ethnic groups within the game, but also gives the reader (and gamer) an understanding of the history and feelings these groups have. It really helped the whole universe click in my head.

    The plot is fantastic and stands on its own without knowledge of the game, but I highly reccomend giving the game a try in order to make some of the names, places and events more clear. I might imagine a reader having a difficult time following parts of the book without this reference.

    Overall the EVE universe is a highly refined set of ideas without this book and is solidified by its contents. I highly recommend it to gamers and non-gamers alike.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2013

    Good read

    Slow to start but took off like a rocket, fun read,looking forward to next book.

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  • Posted October 20, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Eve: The Empyrean Age by Tony Gonzales

    Knowing nothing about EVE online or anything about this book, I entered this world with no idea what I was getting myself into. What wound up happening was that I joined hearts and minds with a few characters, and found myself very upset when I finished the book because I really enjoyed escaping reality and entering this universe. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I've been thinking about joining EVE online to satisfy the emptiness! I've been seeing so many of their advertisements around online that it's a constant reminder to me that I want to. I now know how a fish feels when it sees that bright sparkly lure spin by in a flash... because of the EVE online advertisements I've seen after reading this book.

    About the book now. most of the characters are very strongly developed, and in many cases after you are introduced to certain characters you find out more about them, and even once you think you like them you begin to HATE them for the things they do; or once you find out who they really are. So much of the book is unpredictable, you will never guess what the Broker will do next. You will never guess Tibus Heth's motivation. You will never guess the depth to which the Gallentean President will go to save his people from war; or the extend to which others will go to in order to see two empires collide. Much more...

    This book has characters, stories, plots, and agendas out the wazoo. Only in as vast a universe as this, spanning many planets and empires, can so many characters influence the outcome of events so much. I really hate some of the characters for their pig-headedness, evil actions, and useless pride. I also really enjoy some of the characters for their selfeless-service, self-sacrifice, forethought, and ability to swallow their pride to help others.

    The book got a little confusing toward the end when all the characters' lives kind-of meshed into two seperate plot-lines. Still, I got the entertainment value I wanted out of those confusing parts. What the author lacked in character and plot development toward the end, he made up for in the appearance of Terran artifacts and ship-to-ship battles, and finally in concluding the story lines that prevailed in the book and re-directing things toward the next installment in the series; should it ever become a series.

    It's worth it to buy this book. It's well worth it to read it again and again, and my personal library isn't complete without this book in it. So I highly suggest getting and reading this book, and keeping an eye out for any sequal.

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  • Posted September 28, 2009

    A Gripping Tie-In; Some Minor Flaws, but Extremely Enjoyable

    This was my first MMO tie-in book purchase; I've never read a World of Warcraft novel, for example, but I enjoyed EVE: The Empyrean Age despite not knowing what to expect from the genre.

    It was extremely well written and I had a hard time putting it down. The plot was engaging and I enjoyed reading how the EVE universe I've come to love in the video game changed with the Empyrean Age patch a year or so ago. The universe could have been better described for someone who had never played EVE; the cloning and reincarnation aspects were well done, but my girlfriend needed me to define some terms for her. A small glossary or encyclopedia at the end would have been helpful to complete her immersion.

    All of the main characters were vivid, deep, and emotionally gripping. I found myself deeply engaged with the plights of Falek Grange, Gear, Keitan Yun, and Tibus Heth. That said, all the secondary characters (Jamyl Sarum, the crew of the Retford, the Ammarian scientist, the Broker, etc.) were underdeveloped. I would have preferred that Gonzalez had spent more time exploring their worlds and experiences or had spent more time on the main characters.

    Those things aside, however, it was an excellent read, and I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys spacefaring science-fiction or is looking to learn about the EVE universe.

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  • Posted September 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Pure Tier 3 Awesome

    Working at a Barnes and Noble and having a slow day so I thought I'd post here concerning this book which is made of pure awesome. I've been playing EVE Online on and off since the summer of 2005 when visiting a friend in Germany. Generally in the past I've had bad experiences with video game tie in books in the past so I was expecting at best to be bored but since CCP (the creators of the award winning game) had never steered me wrong in the past I thought I'd give the book a shot.

    After finishing the book earlier today all I have to say is wow. This book floored me. I would highly encourage everyone from the most die hard EVE fan to the average sci-fi enthusiast to read this book. Gonzalez does an excellent job of explaining common EVE terms so that anyone new to the setting won't be lost. He does this in such a way without dwelling so long as to bore those of us who are already familiar with the lingo.

    I could go on for another 2347 characters explaining how much I enjoyed this book but I'll end it here simply saying that it is definitely worth the money and time to sit down and enter the New Eden system along side Tony Gonzalez.

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  • Posted August 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    An outstanding read...

    EVE: The Empyrean Age is simply staggering. Tony Gonzales does a fantastic job of bringing the universe that is New Eden to life, with all of its races and factions, peril and suspense, wickedness and compassion. Gonzales manages to write about countless characters and their individual stories without being confusing and without losing the reader, and with much talent, somehow successfully combines them all into one amazing story. The action is intense, the detail is grand, the characters are gripping, and their decisions are capturing. I strongly recommend this book! (and the game)

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    Posted August 19, 2009

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    Posted January 16, 2012

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    Posted June 10, 2013

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    Posted December 3, 2011

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