Sleeping Giants

Sleeping Giants

3.9 25
by Sylvain Neuvel

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A page-turning debut in the tradition of Michael Crichton, World War Z, and The Martian, Sleeping Giants is a thriller fueled by an earthshaking mystery—and a fight to control a gargantuan power.
A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth.


A page-turning debut in the tradition of Michael Crichton, World War Z, and The Martian, Sleeping Giants is a thriller fueled by an earthshaking mystery—and a fight to control a gargantuan power.
A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.
Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.
But some can never stop searching for answers.
Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?
Praise for Sleeping Giants

“Reminiscent of The Martian and World War Z, Sleeping Giants is a luminous conspiracy yarn that shoots for (and lands among) the stars.”—Pierce Brown, New York Times bestselling author of Red Rising
“As high-concept as it is, Sleeping Giants is a thriller through and through. . . . Not only is Sleeping Giants one of the most promising series kickoffs in recent memory, it’s a smart demonstration of how science fiction can honor its traditions and reverse-engineer them at the same time.”—NPR
“Neuvel weaves a complex tapestry with ancient machinery buried in the Earth, shadow governments, and geopolitical conflicts. But the most surprising thing about the book may just be how compelling the central characters are in the midst of these larger-than-life concepts. . . . I can’t stop thinking about it.”Chicago Review of Books

“First-time novelist Sylvain Neuvel does a bold, splashy cannonball off the high dive with Sleeping Giants. It bursts at the seams with big ideas and the questions they spawn—How much human life is worth sacrificing in the pursuit of scientific progress? Can humanity be trusted with weapons of ultimate destruction? And the biggest: Are we alone? But all that really matters is that this book is a sheer blast from start to finish. I haven’t had this much fun reading in ages.”—Blake Crouch, author of Dark Matter and the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy

“A remarkable debut . . . Reminiscent of Max Brooks’s World War Z, the story’s format effectively builds suspense.”Library Journal (debut of the month)
“This stellar debut novel . . . masterfully blends together elements of sci-fi, political thriller and apocalyptic fiction. . . . A page-turner of the highest order.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“[A] fascinating first novel . . . This intriguing tale is entirely worthy of an adult audience.”Publishers Weekly

Editorial Reviews

B&N Reads
The jacket copy for Sleeping Giants hat tips both The Martian and World War Z. I can dig the comparison—Sylvain Neuvel's accomplished debut is likewise told through a series of diary excerpts and interviews that follow the action as events unfold—but that's an altogether bloodless way of looking at it. The comparison is apt in another very important way: like those films, Sleeping Giants is nothing less than a future summer blockbuster in book form. (And what do you know, Spider-Man screenwriter David Koepp is already attached.) Read More
Publishers Weekly
This fascinating first novel is told mostly through conversations between an unnamed interviewer and the book’s other characters, along with newspaper articles, government memos, and various characters’ journal entries. When Dr. Rose Franklin was a little girl, she made a startling discovery in the woods near her home: the gigantic hand of a robot that appeared to be of alien manufacture. Now that she has grown up and become a prominent scientist, she has, perhaps by coincidence, been put in charge of secretly recovering other parts of the robot, which have apparently been hidden around the world for thousands of years, and returning the behemoth to working order. When the robot’s human pilots accidentally blow a hole in Denver, Colo., thus revealing the machine’s existence, other nations demand access and tensions mount. Neuvel develops several interesting characters, particularly Franklin and cranky pilot Kara Resnik. Even the anonymous interviewer, by turns enigmatic and supportive, holds the reader’s attention. Behind them looms the gigantic, inhuman figure of the robot. There are hints that it was placed on Earth to protect humankind, but from what? Far from being a clone of the Transformers, this intriguing tale is entirely worthy of an adult audience. (May)
Library Journal
★ 03/15/2016
An enormous hand glowing with strange symbols is found in South Dakota by young Rose Franklin, who years later becomes a scientist and heads the team studying the artifact. The hand is just the beginning as the researchers hunt for more pieces of what turns out to be an enormous alien robot-like construct. Through transcripts of interviews of those investigating the machine and a secretive man directing the work, we follow the discovery and assembly of the relic and the mystery of who left it and why. VERDICT Reminiscent of Max Brooks's World War Z, the story's format effectively builds suspense using debriefings and news articles after the fact. Great characters such as prickly pilot Kara Resnik keep the tale grounded, and readers gradually get a picture, complete with the anonymous interviewer as he pulls strings to keep the project afloat and world tensions under control. A remarkable debut.—MM
From the Publisher
“Reminiscent of The Martian and World War Z, Sleeping Giants is a luminous conspiracy yarn that shoots for (and lands among) the stars.”—Pierce Brown, New York Times bestselling author of Red Rising
“As high-concept as it is, Sleeping Giants is a thriller through and through. . . . Not only is Sleeping Giants one of the most promising series kickoffs in recent memory, it’s a smart demonstration of how science fiction can honor its traditions and reverse-engineer them at the same time.”—NPR
“[Sylvain] Neuvel weaves a complex tapestry with ancient machinery buried in the Earth, shadow governments, and geopolitical conflicts. But the most surprising thing about the book may just be how compelling the central characters are in the midst of these larger-than-life concepts. . . . I can’t stop thinking about it.”Chicago Review of Books

“First-time novelist Sylvain Neuvel does a bold, splashy cannonball off the high dive with Sleeping Giants. It bursts at the seams with big ideas and the questions they spawn—How much human life is worth sacrificing in the pursuit of scientific progress? Can humanity be trusted with weapons of ultimate destruction? And the biggest: Are we alone? But all that really matters is that this book is a sheer blast from start to finish. I haven’t had this much fun reading in ages.”—Blake Crouch, author of Dark Matter and the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy

“A remarkable debut . . . Reminiscent of Max Brooks’s World War Z, the story’s format effectively builds suspense.”Library Journal (debut of the month)
“This stellar debut novel . . . masterfully blends together elements of sci-fi, political thriller and apocalyptic fiction. . . . A page-turner of the highest order.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“[A] fascinating first novel . . . This intriguing tale is entirely worthy of an adult audience.”Publishers Weekly

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
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6.40(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.20(d)

Read an Excerpt


Body Parts

File No. 003

Interview with Dr. Rose Franklin, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Enrico Fermi Institute

Location: University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

—How big was the hand?

—6.9 meters, about twenty-three feet; though it seemed much larger for an eleven-year-old.

—What did you do after the incident?

—Nothing. We didn’t talk about it much after that. I went to school every day like any kid my age. No one in my family had ever been to college, so they insisted I keep going to school. I majored in physics.

I know what you’re going to say. I wish I could tell you I went into science because of the hand, but I was always good at it. My parents figured out I had a knack for it early on. I must have been four years old when I got my first science kit for Christmas. One of those electronics kits. You could make a telegraph, or things like that, by squeezing wires into little metal springs. I don’t think I would have done anything different had I listened to my father and stayed home that day.

Anyway, I graduated from college and I kept doing the only thing I knew how to do. I went to school. You should have seen my dad when we learned I was accepted at the University of Chicago. I’ve never seen anyone so proud in my life. He wouldn’t have been any happier had he won a million dollars. They hired me at the U of C after I finished my Ph.D.

—When did you find the hand again?

—I didn’t. I wasn’t looking for it. It took seventeen years, but I guess you could say it found me.

—What happened?

—To the hand? The military took over the site when it was discovered.

—When was that?

—When I fell in. It took about eight hours before the military stepped in. Colonel Hudson—I think that was his name—was put in charge of the project. He was from the area so he knew pretty much everyone. I don’t remember ever meeting him, but those who did had only good things to say about the man.

I read what little was left of his notes—most of it was redacted by the military. In the three years he spent in charge, his main focus had always been figuring out what those carvings meant. The hand itself, which is mostly referred to as “the artifact,” is mentioned in passing only a few times, evidence that whoever built that room must have had a complex enough religious system. I think he had a fairly precise notion of what he wanted this to be.

—What do you think that was?

—I have no idea. Hudson was career military. He wasn’t a physicist. He wasn’t an archaeologist. He had never studied anything resembling anthropology, linguistics, anything that would be remotely useful in this situation. Whatever preconceived notion he had, it must have come from popular culture, watching Indiana Jones or something. Fortunately for him, he had competent people surrounding him. Still, it must have been awkward, being in charge and having no idea what’s going on most of the time.

What’s fascinating is how much effort they put into disproving their own findings. Their first analysis indicated the room was built about three thousand years ago. That made little sense to them, so they tried carbon-dating organic material found on the hand. The tests showed it to be much older, somewhere between five thousand and six thousand years old.

—That was unexpected?

—You could say that. You have to understand that this flies in the face of everything we know about American civilizations. The oldest civilization we’re aware of was located in the Norte Chico region of Peru, and the hand appeared to be about a thousand years older. Even if it weren’t, it’s fairly obvious that no one carried a giant hand from South America all the way to South Dakota, and there were no civilizations as advanced in North America until much, much later.

In the end, Hudson’s team blamed the carbon dating on contamination from surrounding material. After a few years of sporadic research, the site was determined to be twelve hundred years old and classified as a worship temple for some offshoot of Mississippian civilization.

I went through the files a dozen times. There is absolutely nothing, no evidence whatsoever to support that theory, other than the fact that it makes more sense than anything the data would suggest. If I had to guess, I would say that Hudson saw no military interest whatsoever in all this. He probably resented seeing his career slowly wither in an underground research lab and was eager to come up with anything, however preposterous, just to get out of there.

—Did he?

—Get out? Yes. It took a little more than three years, but he finally got his wish. He had a stroke while walking his dog and slipped into a coma. He died a few weeks later.

—What happened to the project after he died?

—Nothing. Nothing happened. The hand and panels collected dust in a warehouse for fourteen years until the project was demilitarized. Then the University of Chicago took over the research with NSA funding and somehow I was put in charge of studying the hand I fell in when I was a child. I don’t really believe in fate, but somehow “small world” doesn’t begin to do this justice.

—Why would the NSA get involved in an archaeological project?

—I asked myself the same question. They fund all kinds of research, but this seems to fall outside their usual fields of interest. Maybe they were interested in the language for cryptology; maybe they had an interest in the material the hand is made of. In any case, they gave us a pretty big budget so I didn’t ask too many questions. I was given a small team to handle the hard science before we handed everything over to the anthropology department. The project was still classified as top secret and, just like my predecessor, I was moved into an underground lab. I believe you’ve read my report, so you know the rest.

—Yes, I have read it. You sent your report after only four months. Some might think it was a little hasty.

—It was a preliminary report, but yes. I don’t think it was premature. OK, maybe a little, but I had made significant discoveries and I didn’t think I could go much further with the data that I had, so why wait? There is enough in that underground room to keep us guessing for several lifetimes. I just don’t think we have the knowledge to get much more out of this without getting more data.

—Who is we?

—Us. Me. You. Mankind. Whatever. There are things in that lab that are just beyond our reach right now.

—Ok, so tell me about what you do understand. Tell me about the panels.

—It’s all in my report. There are sixteen of them, approximately ten feet by thirty-two feet each, less than an inch thick. All sixteen panels were made around the same period, approximately three thousand years ago. We . . .

—If I may. I take it you do not subscribe to the cross-contamination theory?

—As far as I’m concerned, there’s no real reason not to trust the carbon dating. And to be honest, how old these things are is the least of our problems. Did I mention the symbols have been glowing for the last seventeen years, with no apparent power source?

Each wall is made of four panels and has a dozen rows of eighteen to twenty symbols carved into it. Rows are divided into sequences of six or seven symbols. We counted fifteen distinct symbols in total. Most are used several times, some appear only once. Seven of them are curvy, with a dot in the center, seven are made of straight lines, and one is just a dot. They are simple in design but very elegant.

—Had the previous team been able to interpret any of the markings?

—Actually, one of the few sections of Hudson’s report left intact by the military was the linguistic analysis. They had compared the symbols to every known writing system, past or present, but found no interesting correlation. They assumed each sequence of symbols represented a proposition, like an English sentence, but with no frame of reference, they couldn’t even speculate as to their interpretation. Their work was thorough enough and documented at every step. I saw no reason to do the same thing twice and I declined the offer to add a linguist to the team. With nothing to compare this to, there was logically no way to arrive at any sort of meaning.

Perhaps I was biased—because I stumbled onto it—but I felt drawn to the hand. I couldn’t explain it, but every fiber of my being was telling me the hand was the important piece.

—Quite a contrast from your predecessor. So what can you tell me about it?

—Well, it’s absolutely stunning, but I assume you’re not that interested in aesthetics. It measures 22.6 feet in length from the wrist to the tip of the middle finger. It seems to be solid, made of the same metallic material as the wall panels, but it’s at least two thousand years older. It is dark gray, with some bronze overtones, and it has subtle iridescent properties.

The hand is open, fingers close together, slightly bent, as if holding something very precious, or a handful of sand, trying not to spill it. There are grooves where human skin would normally fold, others that seem purely decorative. All are glowing the same bright turquoise, which brings out the iridescence in the metal. The hand looks strong, but . . . sophisticated is the only word that comes to mind. I think it’s a woman’s hand.

—I am more interested in facts at this point. What is this strong but sophisticated hand made of?

—It proved nearly impossible to cut or otherwise alter by conventional means. It took several attempts to remove even a small sample from one of the wall panels. Mass spectrography showed it to be an alloy of several heavy metals, mostly iridium, with about 10 percent iron and smaller concentrations of osmium, ruthenium, and other metals of the platinum group.

—It must be worth its weight in gold?

—It’s funny you should mention that. It doesn’t weigh as much as it should so I’d say it’s worth a lot more than its weight, in anything.

—How much does it weigh?

—Thirty-two metric tons . . . I know, it’s a respectable weight, but it’s inexplicably light given its composition. Iridium is one of the densest elements, arguably the densest, and even with some iron content, the hand should easily weigh ten times as much.

—How did you account for that?

—I didn’t. I still can’t. I couldn’t even speculate as to what type of process could be used to achieve this. In truth, the weight didn’t bother me nearly as much as the sheer amount of iridium I was looking at. Iridium is not only one of the densest things you can find, it’s also one of the rarest.

You see, metals of this group—platinum is one of them—love to bond with iron. That’s what most of the iridium on Earth did millions of years ago when the surface was still molten and, because it’s so heavy, it sunk to the core, thousands of miles deep. What little is left in the Earth’s crust is usually mixed with other metals and it takes a complex chemical process to separate them.

—How rare is it in comparison to other metals?

—It’s rare, very rare. Let’s put it this way, if you were to put together all the pure iridium produced on the entire planet in a year, you’d probably end up with no more than a couple metric tons. That’s about a large suitcaseful. It would take decades, using today’s technology, to scrounge up enough to build all this. It’s just too scarce on Earth and there simply aren’t enough chondrites lying around.

—You lost me.

—Sorry. Meteorites; stony ones. Iridium is so rare in Earth rocks that it is often undetectable. Most of the iridium we mine is extracted from fallen meteorites that didn’t completely burn up in the atmosphere. To build this room—and it seems safe to assume that this is not the only thing they would have built—you’d need to find it where there are a lot more than on the Earth’s surface.

—Journey to the center of the Earth?

—Jules Verne is one way to go. To get this type of metal in massive quantities, you’d either have to extract it thousands of miles deep or be able to mine in space. With all due respect to Mr. Verne, we haven’t come close to mining deep enough. The deepest mines we have would look like potholes next to what you’d need. Space seems much more feasible. There are private companies right now hoping to harvest water and precious minerals in space in the very near future, but all these projects are still in the early planning stages. Nonetheless, if you could harvest meteorites in space, you could get a lot more iridium, a whole lot more.

—What else can you tell me?

—That pretty much sums it up. After a few months of looking at this with every piece of equipment known to man, I felt we were getting nowhere. I knew we were asking the wrong questions, but I didn’t know the right ones. I submitted a preliminary report and asked for a leave of absence.

—Refresh my memory. What was the conclusion of that report?

—We didn’t build this.

—Interesting. What was their reaction?

—Request granted.

—That was it?

—Yes. I think they were hoping I wouldn’t come back. I never used the word “alien,” but that’s probably all they took out of my report.

—That is not what you meant?

—Not exactly. There might be a much more down-to-earth explanation, one I just didn’t think of. As a scientist, all I can say is that humans of today do not have the resources, the knowledge, or the technology to build something like this. It’s entirely possible that some ancient civilization’s understanding of metallurgy was better than ours, but there wouldn’t have been any more iridium around, whether it was five thousand, ten thousand, or twenty thousand years ago. So, to answer your question, no, I don’t believe humans built these things. You can draw whatever conclusion you want from that.

I’m not stupid; I knew I was probably putting an end to my career. I certainly annihilated any credibility I had with the NSA, but what was I going to do? Lie?

—What did you do after you submitted your report?

—I went home, to where it all began. I hadn’t gone home in nearly four years, not since my father died.

—Where is home?

Meet the Author

Sylvain Neuvel is a linguist and translator based in Montreal. He is at work on an R2-D2 replica and his next novel.

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Sleeping Giants 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thanks to NetGalley and Del Rey for giving me an advance copy in exchange for an honest review! I am such a sci-fi geek so when I read the synopsis, I knew I had to have this book. Told from interviews, articles and journal entries, it was reminiscent of World War Z because of the style in which it was written. I sort of had an X-Files "Cigarette Man" vibe from the nameless interviewer and the deeper I got into the story, the faster I turned the pages wanting to know who he was; what was the giant; WHY was the giant there...? I had to know!!! This one kept me up until the wee hours because I couldn't put it down. I loved the science, the mystery of the giant, the government conspiracy, ALL of it! I had so many favorite characters, Rose the physicist, the pilots, and especially the unnamed interviewer! I haven't had a book appeal this much to me since reading The Martian as an ARC. And I had to read that last chapter twice; it seriously blew my mind. Best new book I've read this year!! And I can't believe I'll have to wait who knows how long for the next book as this one doesn't even release until April 2016. I will most definitely be reading this one again and have also purchased a hardcopy for my personal library!! Well done, Mr. Nuevel!!
Anonymous 11 months ago
A very enjoyable book. The mystery and awe of the discovery kept the pages turning. The only reason I took a star away was due to the seemingly forced ending. It felt as if the author was required to turn it into a cliff hanger.
Anonymous 10 months ago
This is a rare book that makes you think while it entertains. There's politics, mystery, military intrigue, sci-fi and a surprising amount of humor.
Anonymous 7 months ago
My Sci fi reading has been Neal Stephenson novels, the lives of Tao series, and the nexus series. I really liked this book. In contrast to Neal Stephenson books the characters display more real human emotion and dialog. And in contrast to the lives of Tao series, the author doesn't spend have the book talking about martial arts and combat. This is more of an intensely interesting psychological story complete with conspiracy, mystery, and science. The delivery of the story is through a series of interviews and journal entries, which makes it more interesting because there is no omniscient narrator and for the most part the reader only knows what the story's characters know.
Anonymous 5 months ago
Wonderful story and immaculate writing style.
Anonymous 5 months ago
Well done although the dialoge from multiple sources gets confusing at times and trying at other times. Silly idea but makes some good themes none the less.... JC
GHEckel 6 months ago
Unconventional. The word sums up Sylvain Neuvel (high school drop out with a PhD who has traveled the world) and the style with which he’s written Sleeping Giants—unconventional and brilliant. The entire novel is a series of transcribed interviews, recorded transmissions, and debriefings with a shadowy, upper echelon spook who remains nameless. The style lends a verisimilitude to the story in a very unique, if mysterious and eerie way. Like any good courtroom drama or Capitol Hill investigation where we only hear testimony and are left to guess at what everyone is thinking, the interrogator is trying to uncover a truth and we, as readers, keep reading to discover the same. We’re drawn into the story by filling in the character descriptions, place descriptions, and characters’ thoughts that the author leaves out. Parts of a metal, alien giant are unearthed around the world and assembled in a clandestine, government laboratory. The concept is so simple and, at the same time, so unique that we can’t help but search for answers to our questions, “What does it do?” “Why is it here?” “Where did it come from?” “What will people do with it?” “Why now?” But thrumming in the background throughout this novel are the implications of this momentous discovery: we are not alone, what might come down from above, and the balance of power in the world has just shifted with the ownership of this quantum leap in technology, which sows the seeds of WW3. All of this starting with a little girl falling into a square hole with a giant, metal hand glowing purple. Don’t miss this book.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Great read and will definitely get the next one when it is released in 2017. Love story seemed a little forced.
Anonymous 10 months ago
OBNOXIOUS FORMAT - I'm an avid reader and will put up with much for a great story, but the way this book was presented as a series of "interview files" was just plain lazy storytelling. I pushed myself through 50 pages hoping it would change and finally just put it down. What a disappointment, this was an interesting premise that held much promise but ended up being a waste of time and money. I rarely am moved to leave a review but hope to spare the next reader the frustration of this book as there are many other good reads out there.
Anonymous 17 days ago
Anonymous 30 days ago
It has some good moments and characters but is a little boring.
Raptor_K9 3 months ago
This was a dreadful book. It is written as a series of interview transcripts that can be difficult at times to keep track of which character is speaking. It had an extremely unsatisfying ending that left way too many story elements unresolved. Books like this are upsetting in the fact that I could have been reading something better.
Jalmfar3 4 months ago
I really enjoyed the ,military journal-style format of this book. I've seen that style used well and badly. It worked here. The themes of mythology-come-to-life and massive underground secret laboratory are familiar, but Neuvel makes them seem fresh. Some of the romantic story feels a little forced, but not so much as to make it annoying. I had fun seeing what was around the corner. It took me back to stories like The Andromeda Strain and Fantastic Voyage with a little bit of TV and movies like U.F.O., Pacific Rim, Men in Black and Stargate mixed in. It even managed to drop in some Chariots of the Gods vibe without being insulting. Who says giant government conspiracies can't be fun?
BookGod923 More than 1 year ago
I received an advance reader copy of Sleeping Giants on the 12th and started reading it that night to see how it was. I finished it last night. Needless to say I could not put this book down. Sylvain Neuvel has created a compulsive novel that I was sad to see end. But, what an ending! I am very glad there will be more, but really sad to have to wait two years for the next book. The story is told through a series of interviews, journal entries and the various other official reports. The majority of the book are the interviews with a very enigmatic Interviewer whose identity we are never told and whose motivation and authority we can only guess at. But he is quite fascinating and it appears quite powerful. The book begins with an 11 year old girl in South Dakota, riding her new bike into the woods after her birthday party. She sees a strange turquoise glow below her in the trees and investigates. She ends up falling and the next thing she knows she is laying on her back looking up the hill at her father and firemen who are trying to get to her from the hole she is in. She is rescued but all of her questions about what happened are dismissed by her parents. It seems no one wants to talk about it. Until one day when she is visited by one of the firemen who rescued her. He had taken some pictures of the accident and thought she would like to see them. She sees a picture of herself lying on her back in the hole, on the palm of a giant metal hand. You can see now why I kept reading. 17 years later, the girl is now Dr. Rose Franklin and is put in charge of just what the hand is and why it was there by our Interviewer. Suffice it to say that there is more than one hand buried on the earth, and it will be up to Rose and her team to find the rest of the body parts that make up a very large metal person. This book is to good to spoil and I think that this may be enough to convince you that this would be well worth your time. I can see this being a huge besteller and the start of a new phenomenom like Hunger Games or Harry Potter. Or it should be.
Rosemary-Standeven More than 1 year ago
I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review I really loved this book. It was written in an unusual format – a series of interviews of all the main protagonists, carried out by a mysterious man, who is never named, and seems to have enormous wealth and influence over the governments and military of a number of countries. The story races along at a much greater pace than you would expect from one that is only told through formal interviews. But then the interviewer is not what/who you might expect, and we never find out his motivation or origin. The story revolves around the discovery of a giant metallic hand, that is far older than should be possible for a metal object on Earth. The only possible conclusion has to be that it was planted on Earth thousands of years ago by an unbelievably advanced alien race. The search then begins for the rest of the giant. A huge – and initially very secretive – scientific project comes into being to try assemble the giant, to ascertain who built it, and why, and more importantly of what use can it be to (selected) humans. This opens up an international can of worms. If one country has access to all that the giant may have to offer – where does that leave the rest of the world? What is the morally right decision? Is there one? Or do we just race headlong into World War III? And when should the public be made aware of alien life on Earth? Apart from the politics, the book also has a discussion about the responsibility of individual scientists (accompanied by the inevitable spectre of Openheimer) and about what drives scientists to do what they do, despite the risk of personal and societal jeopardy. The book is a thrilling tale of scientific discovery. As a math student I was overjoyed to see the huge part that maths played in cracking the giant’s code. Very few fiction books take time to talk about arithmetic in base eight – it made my day! The story also has a complex interplay between the main characters. None of them are easy to get on with, and they must overcome their individual personality quirks and physical weaknesses to become the team that is needed. Of course, very little goes smoothly. You cannot read this book without having to think really deeply about many issues. It poses more questions than it answers, and probably the most extraordinary is What happens at the End?
LezGibson More than 1 year ago
First, take note of how the story is presented to you. Admittedly, the closest thing I've read to something like this is "The Martian," which told the story mostly through journal entries or logs. This is told by way of interviews conducted by a mysterious, seemingly powerful man who is pulling a lot of strings. The way things develop leave you wondering about this character's intent; good or evil? With that said, this story works extremely well being told in this interview format. I can still see the story in my head like a movie even though all the drama has occurred between interviews and is being spoken of in the past tense. I don't want to spoil any details so all-in-all, this is an excellent read and I can't wait to get my hands on the next book. It is obvious that this is only the beginning of what should hopefully be an epic and engaging story.
theaterofthemind More than 1 year ago
I won a print copy of Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel in a Goodreads giveaway. This is the first time I have read a book presented in this particular format; interviews and journal entries. I can see how this would be a detriment to many stories, but it works well for me here. I liked Sleeping Giants, although to be fair, it did not turn out to be the kind of story I expected. I expected the story to focus on the Giants, but it is more of a political intrigue story. This was not a deal breaker for me as I enjoy political conspiracy theory type books, but I was expecting a sci-fi/aliens story. So I wound up feeling a little misled. Sleeping Giants is the first book in the Themis Files series, so perhaps we'll get more true sci-fi in future installments. The characters were well realized in my view. The creepy man pulling all the strings was sufficiently evil and dispassionate. The main female character has a serious attitude problem, especially for a military person. Perhaps a little more on her back story would have made her more sympathetic, but that's really quibbling when you get down to it. The rest of the supporting cast is well done, and not cliche. It does have a cliffhanger ending, but at least not obnoxiously so. I can live with it (big of me isn't it?). So, we have the beginnings of an ancient alien story (where's Giorgio Tsoukalos when we need him?), a secretive and sinister manipulator of people and countries, a hint at romance, a little bit of sex, and several scientific interventions to contend with. All in all, I think Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel is worthy of your time, as long as you understand what it's true genre is. By extension, the Themis Files will be worth following as well. Enjoy! Mike
KarenfromDothan More than 1 year ago
A young child sneaks away from home to ride her new bike. Hearing a noise and seeing a turquoise light, she abandons her bike to investigate. The next thing you know, she’s lying atop a giant metal hand at the bottom of a hole. Twenty years later she has a doctorate in Physics and has been chosen to head a secret government program to find and reassemble all the parts of a gigantic alien robot beginning with the giant hand from her childhood. Sylvain Neuvel’s debut novel, Sleeping Giants, is a genuine page turner. It’s a sci-fi novel told in a series of interviews, journal entries and logs. I thought the characters were somewhat one-dimensional, but I think the format doesn’t allow them to be much more developed. It reminded me of that old saw, ‘With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.’ There are a number of unresolved questions at the conclusion of the book paving the way for a sequel. With an intriguing plot, it’s a suspenseful thriller that captivates the reader. I loved it!
MontzieW More than 1 year ago
Sleeping Giants is only of the best books I have read in a long time! It is written in the form of question/answer interview questions and journal entries but done in such a way that makes the story flow perfectly. A top secret shadow agency in the government in in charge of finding and retrieving alien artifacts that are shaped like pieces of a giant female robot. The pieces seem to magically piece themselves together when placed next to each other. The story is about the many adventures to get the pieces, interactions with the characters involved, the society when this is exposed, how the government would react, and how all this effects the characters themselves. The plot is full of surprises, the character are will developed and you can relate to some, and love them or hate them. It is one of those books you want to read faster so you can see what is going sooner! There is never a dull moment. Great work of sci-fi!!!
Laura_at_125Pages More than 1 year ago
A few months ago, Netgalley featured a scavenger hunt that led to Sleeping Giants. I was intrigued by the premise and the fact that all of the chapters are set as character interviews. A never identified government agent from an unknown agency is collaborating with scientists, military personnel, and an array of niche workers. The story opens with a young girl falling into a hole and landing on a large metal hand. That girl grows up to be a scientist who is recruited by the shadow to work on the origins of the hand. What they find could begin the next world war or open a new path for our planet. Sleeping Giants had a very interesting plot. Between the shadowy government agency, the otherworldly influences and the uncertainty, it created a unique blend. I did like the writing of Sylvain Neuvel, however there was a connection with the reader that was a bit lacking with the interview style he chose. The pacing was spot on and the story flowed well. The world Sylvain Neuvel built in Sleeping Giants, while not super detailed, worked very well in the scope of the story. I had the same problem with the emotions that I did with the writing as the connection just wasn’t there as you saw everything through the words of the characters that they dictated. I loved the characters themselves, in Sleeping Giants; they were snarky and really went for what they wanted and while I didn’t connect deeply with them, I understood and enjoyed them. Sleeping Giants is not what I would consider my normal type of read. I was not aware that there was a genre called Technothrillers, and would probably not have picked one up that advertised as that. I am glad that Netgalley featured it, as I did enjoy the read. The unique way the chapters were set as interviews and the still unknown at the end shadowy government agent at the center made this very entertaining. Sylvain Neuvel has this set as the beginning of a series and I will happily add the next ones to my reading list. Original review @ I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
sandrabrazier More than 1 year ago
It’s Rose’s birthday, and she is eager for her little guests to leave, so she can ride her new pink bicycle! As she is riding along, she suddenly drops through a glowing hole in the earth. Walls of engravings surround her. Strange! Even stranger is what her rescuers see: little Rose is lying in the palm of a giant hand! Years later, Rose is physicist and heading a team, trying to find answers. What is the significance of that hand? As more discoveries are made, Rose realizes that each breakthrough is of utmost importance to the safety and survival of everyone on the earth. This story is told primarily in the form of interviews of the very realistic characters by a seemingly all-powerful, but unknown interviewer. This format leads the reader to discover for him/herself what is happening in the story. This is a mysterious way for a story to unfold, but it is also a powerful one! As the mysterious and otherworldly story unfolds in this way, the reader can actually experience the same confusion and incredulity that the characters are feeling. In this way, the reader becomes part of the story. Wonderfully done, this book would make an amazing movie!
Buecherwurm161 More than 1 year ago
What a great Read. I entered a contest to win this book, because the jacket description sounded very promising, and as luck would have it I actually won a copy. I was not sure what to expect, since this is not usually a genre I gravitate towards, but as soon as I started to read it I was hooked. Its not often you find a book that so complete enthralls you and I also found it to be very innovative, the book unfolds through a series of interviews with different and interesting characters, it had plenty of intrigue, action, mystery and even some romance, I had a hard time putting it down, and pretty much read it in record time. I can't wait to see what will happen next, and I dearly hope there is a next time, since the ending left the door open for more.
Anonymous 7 months ago
BuckeyeAngel 7 months ago
It was Rose’s eleventh birthday and she ahd gotten a new bike but she had to wait until her party was over to try it out. As soon as everyone left Rose was off on her bike before it got dark and she had to be home for the night. Rose was not like most eleven year old girls as she had problems making friends and would rather: read, or go walking in the woods or just be alone. Rose had ridden her new bike into the woods and then saw a turquoise light. She got off her bike and went toward the light.down the hill. Then she fell into a square hole. She was found by firemen and was helped out. A week later a fireman came to her door to show her the pictures he had taken and they showed Rose in the palm of a big metal hand. Then it wasn’t mentioned anymore and Rose went on with her life. Rose ended up getting a PHD in physics. She had not seen the hand in seventeen years. Then it seem to have found her. Carbon dated tests showed the organic matter on the hand to be five to six thousand years old. After the hand was demilitarized Rose was put in charge to study the hand. Four months later Rose handed in her report knowing it would probably end her career and she went back to her childhood home’ I just could not get into this story. Maybe because it seemed dull and lifeless to me I am not really a scientific type of person. The story just didn’t hold my interest. I received an ARC of this story for an honest review.
IanWood More than 1 year ago
This is book one in a series titled 'The Themis Files'. I am not a fan of series unless they're exceptional, and few are. I am certainly not interested in pursuing this one, because I couldn't even get started on this novel. It's written in an interview format which is lazy at best, and downright irritating at worst. The book has officious chapter titles of the form that self-importantly give time and place, and this format irritates the heck out of me. If the story felt important, I would have more tolerance for this farce, but this one did not. It felt childish and amateur. Despite the author's rather exotic sounding name, this novel is set squarely in the USA, because, as you know, nothing can possibly be found anywhere else in the world that might be of the slightest interest. That, in and of itself, isn't a huge indictment, but it does show a certain lack of daring and imagination which are not qualities which recommend a novel boasting inexplicable artifacts at its core. All of that aside, the story wasn't interesting, which sounds like a really odd thing to say when it centers around the discovery of a 22 foot metal hand and some panels that appear to have an unknown and untranslatable language, all made of exotic metals, and all of which glow with a light from a seemingly non-existent power source. The twist is that these artifacts are evidently several thousand years old - and so, of course, should not have existed. How can you take an interesting premise like that and render it boring? Well, by writing in the laziest way possible - creating an interview-style story, where there is absolutely no descriptive prose whatsoever other than the aforementioned chapter 'titles'. The interviews, larded with unimportant details, were unrealistic and weren't even remotely interesting. The story therefore had no personality whatsoever. It felt cold and clinical, and it read like a transcript from some totally tedious Congressional Committee on the Proliferation of Mind Numbing. None of the characters had any life or personality to them. The book began with a prologue which I skipped, because I flatly refuse to read prologues. If it's important enough to include, then put it in chapter one or later. In this case the prologue quite evidently related the pointless story of main character Rose Franklin literally falling on the hand whether she talked the the hand is unstated.... This same story is related with commendable brevity in the interviews, rendering the entire prologue redundant. Rose becomes a physicist who then gets to investigate the artifacts, although why a physicist (as opposed to, say, archaeologists, anthropologists, metallurgists, linguists, and so on) would be doing this was unexplained in the portion I read. I requested this as an advance review copy because it sounded really interesting, but I managed only about twenty pages into this before total nausea overcame me. I honestly could not bring myself to read more and had to give up before my brain shut down completely. Maybe it changes format and becomes brilliant on page twenty one, but skimming forwards page after page showed no end in sight, and so extreme skepticism forbade further investigation. Some reviews I read indicated that it gets worse in the second half, so I was glad I didn't waste my time reading on when there are so many other richly-written and personality-filled novels out there waiting to be discovered. I can't recommend this based on what little I