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The Dark Between the Stars [NOOK Book]

Overview

The Dark Between the Stars is space opera on a grand scale. Twenty years after the elemental conflict that nearly tore apart the cosmos in The Saga of Seven Suns, a new threat emerges from the darkness, and the human race must set aside its own inner conflicts to rebuild their alliance with the Ildiran Empire for the survival of the galaxy.
Praise for THE SAGA OF THE SEVEN ...
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The Dark Between the Stars

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Overview

The Dark Between the Stars is space opera on a grand scale. Twenty years after the elemental conflict that nearly tore apart the cosmos in The Saga of Seven Suns, a new threat emerges from the darkness, and the human race must set aside its own inner conflicts to rebuild their alliance with the Ildiran Empire for the survival of the galaxy.
Praise for THE SAGA OF THE SEVEN SUNS:
'Sure-footed, suspenseful and tragic ... an exhilarating experience' Locus
'Space opera at its most entertaining' Starlog
'THE SAGA OF THE SEVEN SUNS is worthy of mention in the same breath as Asimov's Foundation series and Hamilton's Nightdawn trilogy. This is science fiction on the grandest of scales, a modern classic' The Alien Online
'A realm of wondrous possibilities ... A fascinating series' Brian Herbert
'A space opera to rival the best the field has ever seen' SF Chronicle
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
06/15/2014
A sequel trilogy to Anderson's popular "Saga of the Seven Suns" series (which finished with 2008's The Ashes of Worlds) begins in the Spiral Arm 20 years later. The Ildirans and humans are still at peace, having together won the Elemental Wars. But an old threat from Ildira's distant past has resurfaced that could swallow the galaxy and all the sentient races in it. Making matters worse, the remnants of the Klikiss robot army are strangely immune to the shadowy enemy. If these two races ally, humans and Ildirans have little hope. VERDICT Although the narrative picks up speed when the enemy finally appears midway through this long novel, Anderson devotes a large portion of the book to setting the stage. There are perhaps too many point-of-view characters and the short chapters mean that the reader doesn't engage with them before switching again. Patient readers will be rewarded as the narrative progresses and each character's story begins to fit together.
Publishers Weekly
04/28/2014
At the start of this follow-up to Anderson’s epic Saga of the Seven Suns series, the Elemental War has just ended, the Confederation has replaced the corrupt Terran Hanseatic League, and an era of amity between human and the alien Ildirans seems assured. These dreams are foredoomed; not only are the malevolent Klikiss robots even now rebuilding their forces for another attack on the living beings they despise, but an ill-fated Ildiran and human joint expeditionary mission forces the robots to ally themselves with a mysterious evil force: the Shana Rei, personification of the void itself. Unfortunately, this novel replicates the original series’ flaws. The multitudinous characters offer more variety than depth, the world-building strains for verisimilitude, and the complex plot comes to feel meandering and grandiose. Anderson’s fans will be satisfied, but other readers looking for their space opera fix may want to go elsewhere. Agent: John Silbersack, Trident Media Group. (June)
Kirkus Reviews
2014-05-20
The beginning a new doorstopper sequel series to Anderson’s fantasy space opera The Saga of the Seven Suns (The Ashes of Worlds, 2008, etc.).In the future, royalty supposedly governs humanity’s galactic league of colonies, but in reality, the monarchs take their orders from a Chairman. Humans have gained a stardrive from the ancient alien Ildiran race. The innately conservative Ildirans are psychically linked through “thism” (a sort of weak telepathy) to their leader, the Mage-Imperator. On the independent human planet Theroc live green priests, telepathically linked to each other through their world’s semi-sentient worldforest. Previously, humans and Ildirans fought a war with the hydrogues, gassy aliens who dwell on (or in) gas giant planets (there are fiery and watery aliens too) with the deadly Klikiss black robots. You won't be surprised to hear the humans won. Now, 20 years later, engineer Garrison Reeves foresees disaster overtaking the unstable volcanic planet he’s working on; pursued by his vengeful wife, he flees into space with his son and discovers “bloaters”—which happen to be chock-full of a spaceship superfuel called “ekti.” An exploratory Ildiran ship commanded by Gale’nh, the half-human son of the Mage-Imperator, blunders into a mysterious sentient black cloud known to Ildiran history as Shana Rei and meets disaster. A swarm of surviving Klikiss black robots forms an alliance with Shana Rei. Human traditionalist Roamer dissidents take up residence in an ancient abandoned space city only to fall victim to an incurable plague. Phobic industrialist Zoe Alakis sends her murderous servant Tom Rom to acquire samples for medical research even though she does nothing with the proceeds. All this isn’t the half of it. With a cast of thousands, glossary notwithstanding, it’s hard to remember who anybody is or what they do. Narrating in his usual breezy style, and untroubled by scientific fact, Anderson just lays it on with a trowel—and the upshot’s a book that’s so busy communicating everything in general that it forgets to be about something in particular.Avoid. Unless you’re an Anderson addict.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466856561
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 6/3/2014
  • Series: Saga of Shadows , #1
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 672
  • Sales rank: 41,810
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Kevin J. Anderson
Kevin J. Anderson is the author of more than 120 books, 52 of which have appeared on national or international bestseller lists; he has more than 23 million copies in print in thirty languages. His books have won or been nominated for the Nebula Award, the Bram Stoker Award, the Faust Award, the SFX Reader’s Choice Award, the Scribe Award, and been selected as New York Times Notable Books.

Kevin has coauthored 13 books in the Dune saga with Brian Herbert. His epic SF series The Saga of Seven Suns is a seven-volume opus that topped international bestseller lists.

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Read an Excerpt


CHAPTER

1

 

GARRISON REEVES

He had to run, and he fled with the boy out into the dark spaces between the stars.

Garrison Reeves stole a ship from the Iswander Industries lava-processing operations on Sheol. Though he’d planned his escape for days, he gathered only a few supplies and keepsakes before departing, careful not to give his wife any hint of what he intended to do. None of his possessions mattered more than getting safely away with his son.

He knew the disaster could come soon—any day now. Lee Iswander, the Roamer industrialist, dismissed Garrison’s concerns about third-order tidal shifts in the broken planet; Garrison’s own wife, Elisa, didn’t believe him. The lava miners paid little attention to his warnings, not because they disputed his geological calculations, but because they didn’t want to believe. Their priorities were clear. Adding “unnecessary” and expensive levels of redundant shielding and “paranoid” safety measures was irresponsible, both to Iswander Industries and to the employees, who participated in profit-sharing.

Lee Iswander had commissioned follow-up reports, biased reports, that painted a far rosier picture. Garrison didn’t accept them.

So he made his choice, the only possible choice. He stole one of the company ships, and when she found out about it, Elisa would claim that he stole their son.

He flew out of the Sheol system, running far from any Roamer settlement or Confederation outpost. Elisa was not only an ambitious woman, she was abusive, tenacious, and dangerous—and she would come after them. He needed a head start if he had any hope of getting away.

The ship was a standard Iswander cargo transport, a workhorse, fully fueled with ekti, run by an efficient Ildiran stardrive. Garrison could fly the vessel without special training, as he could fly most standard spacecraft.

Ten-year-old Seth rode in the cockpit next to him. Garrison made a game of familiarizing the boy with cockpit systems and engine diagnostics, giving him simple navigation problems to solve—as any good Roamer father would, even though Garrison had chafed under how his stern father had raised him. He would not make the same mistakes with Seth.

Roamers were free spirits, sometimes deprecatingly called space gypsies, whose clans filled niches too rugged and dangerous for more pampered people—places such as the Sheol lava-processing operations. He had followed Elisa there because of her promotion in Iswander Industries.

“You should stay away from That Woman,” Olaf Reeves had warned him, not once but dozens of times. “If you defy me, if you marry her, you will regret it. You are spitting on your heritage.”

Now, Garrison hated to admit that his father had been right.

He closed his eyes, took a breath, and opened them. He studied the markers on the ship’s copilot control panels, then turned to his son. “Go ahead and set the next course, Seth.”

“But where are we going?”

“You pick, so long as we’re heading away from Sheol.” He tapped the starscreen, which showed infinite possibilities. “On this trip, we’re truly roaming. I just need some time away from everybody so I can rethink things.”

Though anxious, the boy was glad to be with his father. Seth respected his mother, even feared her, but he loved his father. Elisa never let down her walls—not with any business associate, not with Garrison, not even with her own son.

“Will I be able to go to Academ now?” Seth asked. The Roamer school inside a hollowed-out comet had always fascinated the boy. He wanted to be with the children of other clans, to have friends. Garrison knew his son would be happier at Academ, but Elisa had refused to consider sending their son there.

“Maybe we’ll arrange that before long. For now, you can learn from me.”

Unlike other Roamer children, Seth hadn’t grown up in a pleasant domed greenhouse asteroid or on the open gas-giant skies of an ekti-harvesting skymine. Rather, his daily view was a blaze of scarlet magma erupting in a smoke-filled sky. All the personnel of the lava-mining facility lived in reinforced habitat towers mounted on pilings sunk down to solid rock. More than two thousand employees, specialists of various ranks—engineers like Garrison himself, metallurgists, geologists, shipping personnel, and just plain grunt workers—filled shifts aboard the smelter barges or control towers, surrounded by fires that could have inspired Hell itself.

No other parents kept their children here. Sheol was no place for a family, no home for a boy, regardless of the career advancement opportunities for Elisa.

As the two closely orbiting halves of the binary planet adjusted their dance of celestial mechanics, Garrison had analyzed the orbital pirouette, uncovering fourth-order resonances that he suspected would make the fragments dip fractionally closer to each other, increasing stresses. He studied the melting points, annealing strengths, and ceramic-lattice structure of the habitat and factory towers.

And he realized the danger to the Iswander operations.

Alarmed, he had presented his results to Lee Iswander, only to be rebuffed when neither the industrialist nor his deputy—Garrison’s own wife—took his warnings seriously. Iswander impatiently told Garrison to go back to work and reassured him that the lava-processing outpost was perfectly safe. The material strength of the structural elements was rated to withstand the environment of Sheol, although with little margin for error.

When Garrison insisted, Iswander grudgingly brought in a team of contract geologists and engineers who found a way to rerun the calculations, to reaffirm that nothing could go wrong. The specialists had departed with surprising haste—worried about their own safety?

Garrison still trusted his own calculations, though. Next, he felt it was his responsibility to warn the Sheol employees, which infuriated Elisa, who was sure that his whistle-blowing would cost her a promotion.

Honestly, Garrison hoped he was wrong. He knew he wasn’t. Convinced he had no alternative, he decided to take Seth away from Sheol before disaster struck.…

After scanning the star catalog, the boy chose coordinates that qualified as little other than “the middle of nowhere.” The stardrive engines hummed and changed tone as they adjusted course, and the vessel streaked off again.

Seth looked up at him with a sparkle in his eyes. “If we had our own compy, Dad, he could fly the ship, and you and I could play games.”

Garrison smiled. “We’re on autopilot. We can still play games.”

Because there were no other children on Sheol, Seth had longed for a competent computerized companion, probably a Friendly model who could keep him company and amuse him. At the lava-mining facility, Lee Iswander used only a handful of Worker compies, none of which were the more sociable types, not even a Teacher compy.

“Your mother didn’t see the point in owning a compy,” Garrison said. “But maybe we can revisit that.” After we see what happens.

In his head, Garrison heard his father’s gruff voice again. “You never should have married That Woman. You’re a Roamer, and you belong with other Roamers!”

“Elisa’s not a Roamer, but Lee Iswander comes from a good clan,” he had responded, though the words sounded flat in his own ears.

“That man has more of the Hansa about him than the clans. He’s forgotten who he is.” The bearded clan patriarch had waved a finger in front of his son’s face. “And if you stay with him, you will forget who you are. Too many Roamer clans have forgotten. A knife loses its edge unless it is sharpened.”

But Garrison had refused to listen and married Elisa Enturi anyway. He’d given up so much for her … or had he done it just to act out against his father? He had wanted a family, a fulfilled life, and Elisa wanted something else.

“If we find a place and settle down, will Mother come to live with us again?” Seth asked.

Garrison didn’t want to lie. He stared out at the forest of stars ahead and the great emptiness in which they had lost themselves. “She wants to take her chances at Sheol for now.”

The boy looked sad but stoic. “Maybe someday.”

Garrison could not envision any other answer but Maybe someday.

Still running, they crossed the expansive emptiness for days, and then they encountered an amazing anomaly: a cluster of gas bags far outside of any star system. Each bloated globule was twice the size of their ship.

Garrison ran a quick diagnostic. “Never seen anything like these.”

The membranous bubbles drifted along in a loose gathering with nothing but light-years all around them. In the dim light of faraway stars, the spherical structures appeared greenish brown, and each filmy membrane enclosed a blurry nucleus. Hundreds of thousands of them formed an island in a sea of stars.

Seth studied both the sensor screens and the unfiltered view through the windowport. “Are they alive?”

Garrison shut down the engines so their ship could drift toward them. “No idea.” The strange objects seemed majestic—silent, yet powerful. Organic? They filled him with a sense of wonder. “They remind me of … space plankton.”

“They’re bloated and floating,” Seth said. “We should call them bloaters.

A random glimmer of light brightened one of the nodules, an internal flash that faded. Then another bloater flickered and quickly faded.

Close together at one of the windowports, they stared out at the view. “If we discovered them, we can name them whatever we want,” Garrison said. “I’d say bloaters is a good name for them.”

“So we just made a discovery?”

“Looks that way.” He moored the ship among the thousands of silent, eerie nodules. “Let’s stay here for a while.”

 

Copyright © 2014 by Kevin J. Anderson


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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2014

    Great book

    Worth reading

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted November 28, 2014

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