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Posted May 8, 2010
A group of eight explorers from the not too distant future set out to test-fly The Holy Grail, the very first faster-than-light experimental ship. Instead of finding themselves in interstellar space, they find themselves at a massive artificial construct that houses thousands of different intelligent species, and has existed for long enough to house creatures that have evolved to live within it.
The Grand Central Arena is vast in ways that defy comprehension: it is apparently large enough to provide for a large population of every intelligent species in the universe, and has a history dating back though occupation by many species that have since become extinct. It has rules of conduct that it rigidly enforces, and a culture that is beautifully diverse yet may be suddenly deadly.
For Ariane Austin, the beautiful rocket racing pilot and default skipper of the expedition; for Dr. Carl Edlund, Ariane's crew chief and design expert; Dr. Marc DuQuesne, survivor of a massive genetic and psychological experiment; for Dr. Simon Sandrisson, inventor of the FTL drive and the rest of this elite crew the challenge becomes far greater than a simple test flight. The stakes in this arena run from full partnership in an interstellar trading community far beyond their greatest dreams, to slavery or destruction of the entire human race.
Spoor does an outstanding job of bringing together a disparate party of human adventurers and an eclectic set of aliens with a wide variety of motivations. He also dragged this reader right into the midst of the battle to create a place for humanity amongst the stars.
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Posted June 8, 2014
I absolutely love the world Mr. Spoor has built in this series! Rarely do I read a book more than once but this book and its sequel "Spheres of Influence" are the exception. It is a fun read where one can ride on the coattails of the author's imagination. He has constructed a world of endless wonder and possibilities mixed heavily with boundless conflict and conquest.
Transported to an unknown model of the universe, a small group of humans face aliens both hostile and friendly in a Grand Arena where humanities’ fortunes hinge on how they navigate the rules of Challenge. This book might not be for those who prefer hard core science fiction filled with pages of exposition on physics and cosmology, but for everyone else I highly recommend this book and any other future sequels in this series.
Posted October 27, 2013