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Almost 5 stars apart from the regular incoherence of it, which might be solved by book two It s muchoriginal than his first derivative but well written stuff, he s finding his feet really well but it s properly hard going Ultra violence like recent Neal Asher with the no holds spared nonsense of Hannu Rajaniemi I m so glad I have the second book to get into rather than a wait as that would make me cross. Sorry, not for me The disparate stories will doubtless join up eventually, but I m not liking the writing style sufficiently to wait that long. Gavin Smith writes excellent military influenced Space Opera and looking at this book s cover you might assume that s what you re getting but you re not You are getting some excellent writing he s really coming on as a writer and there is a far future crazy space opera strand to this novel, but there is also a contemporary thriller strand, and an Iron Age epic quest strand.Despite my love of Space Opera, it was the other two strands which gripped me Both had complex and unusual main charact Gavin Smith writes excellent military influenced Space Opera and looking at this book s cover you might assume that s what you re getting but you re not You are getting some excellent writing he s really coming on as a writer and there is a far future crazy space opera strand to this novel, but there is also a contemporary thriller strand, and an Iron Age epic quest strand.Despite my love of Space Opera, it was the other two strands which gripped me Both had complex and unusual main characters with clear goals and a whole lot of fascinating weird shit to go through in trying to achieve them Beth, the main character for the current day strand, is a woman of amazing resilience looking for her errant sister in the Iron Age we ve got the shaman wise woman of a clan, but with a number of brilliant twists, some related to Clarke s Third Law.Most of this book was a wild and enjoyable ride however, I was worried about how or even if the strands would be tied up at the end, and unfortunately my fears were justified which is why it gets 4, not 5, stars Forstick thumpery on the ending, see below after the spoiler alert banner I should also, with my craft of writing head on, say there were some stylistic quirks which bugged me, the main one being the excessive use of the past perfect, or, as the layperson might say, too much had and not enough be I m also not a great fan of shifting viewpoints within scenes, though this is handled well SPOILER ALERT It may be me, but at the end I was left not much wiser about what was going on than I was about half way through You ve got some sort of war through time but I wasn t clear what the stakes, tokens or even sides were in this war Something to do with command of hyperspace travel using a hive being egg thing with, for some reason, an ordinary human in And the end of the world in our time, but then, how come there is a future strand at all I didn t need every loose end tied up, but I did need a fewlinks between the strands, a few clues even some of those I thought I puzzled out, such as the main character in the Iron Age strand turning up in modern day Portsmouth, turned out not to be what they seemed Most frustrating But evenso, those well drawn and interesting characters all died without achieving their aims I ve no trouble with killing characters I do it myself and sometimes they won t win , but having every strand end in failure and death destruction made this book ultimately unsatisfying I have to admit that while I enjoyed the book, there were many times when I wondered what the significance of the 3 storylines was to each other As standalone stories each would have been fine, and I found myself wishing forat the end of each chapter of each thread However it is only towards the end of the book that connections are confirmed one obviously assumes muchearlier in the book, given the fact that all 3 storylines are in the same book but even so, there is no concrete I have to admit that while I enjoyed the book, there were many times when I wondered what the significance of the 3 storylines was to each other As standalone stories each would have been fine, and I found myself wishing forat the end of each chapter of each thread However it is only towards the end of the book that connections are confirmed one obviously assumes muchearlier in the book, given the fact that all 3 storylines are in the same book but even so, there is no concrete link between a long time ago, now and the distant future One can only assume that a sequel or 2 is on the way, which I must admit I will probably be reading Some other reviews question if this is part of a series as it s not obvious on goodreads but this is the first book in a trilogy, part two A Quantum Mythology has also been released I got A Quantum Mythology via First Reads and so purchased Age of Scorpio so I can read them in order.I did enjoy this book, I liked the idea of having a story spanning three different time periods having chapters based thousands of years on the future, thousands of years in the past and the present the chapters al Some other reviews question if this is part of a series as it s not obvious on goodreads but this is the first book in a trilogy, part two A Quantum Mythology has also been released I got A Quantum Mythology via First Reads and so purchased Age of Scorpio so I can read them in order.I did enjoy this book, I liked the idea of having a story spanning three different time periods having chapters based thousands of years on the future, thousands of years in the past and the present the chapters always follow this pattern I did spend a lot of time feeling a little lost and unsure what s going on but that just made itinteresting I started off preferring the future chapters, then the past but actually the present chapters ended up being the ones I looked forward too after I d passed the half way point of the book It did feel like I was reading three books at once and trying to keep up with each story line whilst tying to figure out how they relate to each other.Now I ve finished I m looking forward to continuing the story, I suspect once the trilogy has finished a re read may be needed to full appreciate the whole story Wow.Gavin G Smith s The Age of Scorpio is like a paean to the Golden Age of SF, stuffed to the gills with bad ass weaponry, hi tech, monsters and derring do, but very much infused with the zeitgeist of the modern genre.Which means copious quantities of gratuitous slaughter of the innocents, presided over by various galactic factions from murky church leaders to aliens , all hoping to get their respective claws, tentacles, feelers or hands on the last remnant of an ancient civilisation s incomp Wow.Gavin G Smith s The Age of Scorpio is like a paean to the Golden Age of SF, stuffed to the gills with bad ass weaponry, hi tech, monsters and derring do, but very much infused with the zeitgeist of the modern genre.Which means copious quantities of gratuitous slaughter of the innocents, presided over by various galactic factions from murky church leaders to aliens , all hoping to get their respective claws, tentacles, feelers or hands on the last remnant of an ancient civilisation s incomprehensible technology The story is like Pandora s Box, only with a fuck loadbells, whistles and booby traps.Perhaps it is no coincidence that Smith s name recalls another stalwart of Golden Age Space Opera, namely E.E Doc Smith Another trend of modern SF, especially New Space opera think Iain Banks and Peter Hamilton , is to thread together multiple narratives Smith here has three disparate plot strands Southern Britain, a Long Time Ago , Now and A Long Time After the Loss.The linkages and interpolations between these distinct storylines and periods are intuitive rather than implicit, with Smith relying on the genre savviness of the reader to make the necessary deductive leaps I think it is for this reason that a lot of Goodreads reviewers have labelled this novel as incoherent one only has to see how many of these are dyed in the wool SF readers.I think that presenting a coherent New Space Opera, one that is logically extrapolated from our current socio cultural milieu, and one that also takes technology in logical, as well as unexpected, directions, is one of the most difficult genre undertakings, and also the one most fraught with pitfalls.Smith is well aware of his antecedents, hence such concepts as Known Space Larry Niven and neunonics Peter Hamilton , but adds so much of his own brio to the mix that these come across as welcome nods to old friends.An extraordinarily confident writer, Smith is capable of writing extended action scenes that make Game of Thrones seem like a Sunday School picnic, especially those set in Ancient Britain More importantly, the reader is not jaded by any of these set pieces, due mainly to a careful investment in characterisation that pays off handsomely over the long run of this impressive and quite spectacular novel A fantastic read The blurb on the back is very misleading, but don t let that detract you from an otherwise excellent novel.Full of action, some great protagonists, it doesnt let up from start to finish Th structure of the book was a little unexpected at start, as there are 3 different timelines with 3 different sets of characters, but it does well by avoiding the usual trap of making the readers want to read onethan the others LOTR anyone One other thing, as i was late to the party I A fantastic read The blurb on the back is very misleading, but don t let that detract you from an otherwise excellent novel.Full of action, some great protagonists, it doesnt let up from start to finish Th structure of the book was a little unexpected at start, as there are 3 different timelines with 3 different sets of characters, but it does well by avoiding the usual trap of making the readers want to read onethan the others LOTR anyone One other thing, as i was late to the party I didn t realise and his own websiteis very vague on the fact that s its the first of a trilogy Thankfully, as I said I was late to the party and by the time i realised this the other 2 books have been released and its a matter of seconds to order the next in the trilogy Tricky to get into and there is no quarter given to exposition for what is obviously a large story arc The long before the fall sections in particular don t give much away I d like to have seen some of this resolved before the end of the book as a proper setup for the next chapter For the first half of this book I couldn t shake the feeling that this has been done before especially having read the Ragnarok trilogy by John Meaney which I recommend you do to Meaney s is a muchconside Tricky to get into and there is no quarter given to exposition for what is obviously a large story arc The long before the fall sections in particular don t give much away I d like to have seen some of this resolved before the end of the book as a proper setup for the next chapter For the first half of this book I couldn t shake the feeling that this has been done before especially having read the Ragnarok trilogy by John Meaney which I recommend you do to Meaney s is a muchconsidered take on the idea But all in all I think it s worth sticking with even through the extended fight sequences There are some genuinely interesting concepts that it will be interesting to see developed I d give the next one a go I ve read a ton of books this year Hands down, this is the worst traditionally published book I ve read this year I had two primary complaints structure and content of a violent and sexual nature Structurally, the book is split over three different eras ancient BCE history, the present day, and the far future Fair enough, the story told is a big one, and the three eras each have a major part of the story But the way the eras presented is interwoven The chapters alternate Far future, far I ve read a ton of books this year Hands down, this is the worst traditionally published book I ve read this year I had two primary complaints structure and content of a violent and sexual nature Structurally, the book is split over three different eras ancient BCE history, the present day, and the far future Fair enough, the story told is a big one, and the three eras each have a major part of the story But the way the eras presented is interwoven The chapters alternate Far future, far past, and then present It follows this pattern through pretty much the entire book I think the book would have been better presented by breaking it into three parts past, present, and future and presenting it in larger chunks As it is, I had a hard time keeping track of the three different story lines It was also hard keeping my interest level up I very nearly just skipped around sequentially, but that would have been breaking the rule of the book The author thought the story should be presented in this way, and so he did And it was an absolute failure.Second, the story was just gratuitous I have no issues with violence or sexual content in a story But it s got to serve a purpose Every single chapter would have extended scenes of violence It would get to be repetitive and, frankly, boring If the violence had been usedsparingly and there had beenfocus on character development and world building, the book would have been so much better Also, if there had been some actual romantic development rather than sex just for the sake of titillation, I would ve been farinterested Instead, the sex invoked an odd Clive Barker esque sense of revulsion in me Like it was there only to be depraved and horrific I ve only ever read one Warhammer novel Fulgrim by Graham McNeill I didn t like it But Age of Scorpio reminded me a lot of Fulgrim in terms of feel and I liked it even less It s as though Smith was auditioning for a spot on the Warhammer roster The kindle version of the book was low priced, and I think I know why `Free ↞ The Age of Scorpio ☔ Of all the captains based out of Arclight only Eldon Sloper was desperate enough to agree to a salvage job in Red Space And now he and his crew are living to regret his desperation In Red Space the rules are different Some things work, others don t Best to stick close to the Church beacons Don t get lost Because there s something wrong about Red Space Something beyond rational Something vampyricLong after The Loss mankind is different We touch the world via neunonics We are machines, we are animals, we are hybrids But some things never change A Killer is paid to kill, a Thief will steal countless lives A Clone will find insanity, an Innocent a new horror The Church knows we have kept our sins Gavin Smith s new SF novel is an epic slam bang ride through a terrifyingly different future