House of Suns

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"Six million years ago, at the dawn of the star-faring era, Abigail Gentian fractured herself into a thousand male and female clones, which she called shatterlings. She sent them out into the galaxy to observe and document the rise and fall of countless human empires. Since then, every two hundred thousand years, they gather to exchange news and memories of their travels." Only this millennium there is no gathering. Someone is eliminating the Gentian line. And Campion and Purslane - two shatterlings who have fallen in love and shared forbidden

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House of Suns

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Overview

"Six million years ago, at the dawn of the star-faring era, Abigail Gentian fractured herself into a thousand male and female clones, which she called shatterlings. She sent them out into the galaxy to observe and document the rise and fall of countless human empires. Since then, every two hundred thousand years, they gather to exchange news and memories of their travels." Only this millennium there is no gathering. Someone is eliminating the Gentian line. And Campion and Purslane - two shatterlings who have fallen in love and shared forbidden experiences - must determine exactly who, or what, their enemy is, before they are wiped out of existence.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Reynolds (The Prefect) returns to the universe of his 2005 novella "Thousandth Night" in this sprawling novel of intergalactic intrigue. It is 6.4 million years in the future and humanity has spread throughout the Milky Way. Some cultures have established transient empires across space; others, the Lines, have used relativistic travel to colonize deep time. Clone-siblings Campion and Purslane are delayed on their way to a Gentian Line reunion, a coincidence that saves them from a massacre. Allied with potentially hostile Machine People and an enigmatic post-human god called the Spirit, armed only with fragmentary records and hints that Campion's research provoked the mysterious House of Suns, the Gentian survivors struggle to find and stop their enemies before the genocide can be completed. Intriguing ideas and competent characterization make this a fine example of grand-scale relativistic space opera. (June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
Far-future, galaxy-spanning space opera involving clones, robots, mass murder and hundreds of post-human cultures, some alive, most extinct, set in a universe different than Reynolds' Revelation Space yarns (Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days, 2005, etc.). Six million years ago, from a civilization known as the Golden Hour, the House of Flowers-comprising the thousand male and female immortal clones, or "shatterlings," of Abigail Gentian-set off to explore the galaxy. Every 200,000 years they meet up to celebrate and share memories. Since they travel at sublight speeds, most of this time is spent in stasis, so they do not so much live history as tunnel through it, as one of the characters observes. It's often a weakness, since readers are afforded glimpses of dozens of cultures without being offered involvement in any. Our alternating narrators-a third narrative strand features Abigail becoming addicted to a simulated-reality role-playing game, for reasons that only become clear much later-impetuous, courageous Campion and smarter, more empathic Purslane, are an item, against House rules. They're running late for the next reunion and need ship repairs. A piratical post-human named Ateshga attempts to trick Campion, but Purslane outwits him and rescues memory-impaired Hesperus. The three reach the reunion site 50 years late, only to learn that the Flowers have been ambushed and all but wiped out. Campion and Hesperus rescue a handful of Gentians-50 out of a surviving 900-odd. But why the slaughter, and who did it? Believe it or not, the Andromeda Galaxy is a major plot issue. Absorbing, but lacking the edgy brilliance and almost desperate urgency of the Revelation novels.
From the Publisher
"Intriguing ideas and competent characterization make this a fine example of grand-scale relativistic space opera." —-Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780441017171
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 6/2/2009
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Alastair Reynolds is the author of many short stories and eight novels, including Chasm City, winner of the British Science Fiction Association's Award for Best Novel, and House of Suns.

British narrator John Lee has read audiobooks in almost every conceivable genre, from Charles Dickens to Patrick O'Brian. He has won numerous Audie Awards and AudioFile Earphones Awards, and he was named a Golden Voice by AudioFile in 2009.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 57 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(36)

4 Star

(14)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 58 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 7, 2009

    Very different

    From time to time a genre changing writer comes along. Reynolds has hit SF hard enough to shake the galaxy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent! A must read for the hard SF space opera fan.

    This was an excellent book! I am a huge fan of Mr. Reynold's Revelation Space books as well as every single stand alone novel that he has written. In his most recent work, two characters take the first person perspective which provides an interesting depth to the book. This book will not disappoint, whether it is the first read from the author or whether you are already a fan, this will be a book for the permanent library. Enjoy!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    readers will enjoy this intriguing science fiction thriller

    Six million years ago, Abigail Gentian formed her clan the House of Flowers by cloning herself into a thousand male and female shatterlings. She assigns her "children" to travel separately across the galaxy as observers of sentient life-forms. Every two hundred thousand years they are to come home to report on what they watched. The Gentian House has become the wealthiest in the known universe as each child performs their mission diligently.----------

    However, this time something has gone wrong after so many successful spins of the galaxy wheel. The gathering has not occurred on time as someone is killing Abigail's clones. Worse than death, two shatterlings, Campion and Purslane, have broken the forbidden taboos; not only have they failed to report being five decades late, they have traveled together and fallen in love. Each understands that if their mother learns of their transgression, they will die. However, even before they decide about Mother, the pair realizes that an adversary is murdering their sisters and brothers as they journey home, but death rides with them. -----------------------

    Most of the tale focuses on the dangerous journey home by Campion and Purslane as they have broken other rules especially with a failure to deliver to the family information super library Vigilance and the effort to rescue siblings. This pair finding companionship and love turn Abigail's inhuman clones into humans as the need to belong and the willingness to sacrifice are traits the shatterlings never had before. Alternating first person between Campion and Purslane (and at times Abigail) seems unnecessary as they are together and their viewpoints almost identical. Still although some fans will miss the vastness of space and time author trademarks that are only hinted at in HOUSE OF SUNS, readers will enjoy this intriguing science fiction thriller as the lead couple goes where no shatterling (or Alastair Reynolds) has gone before with the help of Hesperus the robot they journey to the heart of the galaxy.--------------------

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 20, 2014

    Space opera across the ages

    There is a basic problem with interstellar travel slower than the speed of light. Everything takes so goddamn long. Reynolds bypasses this restriction by having his main characters enjoy a really long life span, and spend the centuries between star systems in one form of stasis or another. Therefore, this tale consumes centuries like others do days. Rather than give the story scope however, it tends to rob it of import. Who cares what is going to happen a hundred centuries from now? Yes, I know that sounds a little like attention deficit disorder but the unrelenting sameness of each traverse between star systems starts to wear. When everything else is possible, like "damming" stars (whatever that means exactly,) the plot starts to seem arbitrary and a little contrived. Yes, I know, on some level, that all fiction is "contrived" but some more than others. Three stars aren't bad, though.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2013

    Very enjoyable read. I couldn't put it down once I got started.

    Very enjoyable read. I couldn't put it down once I got started.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2012

    This book was fantastic. On a recommendation I picked this up an

    This book was fantastic. On a recommendation I picked this up and was absolutely blown away. I've had mixed feelings about Reynold's writing. The Prefect was decent, but not all that great. Chasm City left me wanting. But this book has a depth not seen in the others. It spans an epic amount of time and space, is well written, and very captivating. He presents ideas about the future that intrigued and excited me, which is rare. He also explains some of the mysteries left in his other books (like the Shrouders in the Prefect). I can't recommend this enough.

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  • Posted July 2, 2011

    Fascinating juxtaposition of ideas

    Wide ranging story, with at least two subplots. Not sure I get the full connection between them, but I am sure it is there. A little slow to develop, like other of Reynolds books, but in the end captivating and well worth the time.

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    Posted September 8, 2009

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