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The Gap by Stephen Donaldson

Review by Arakasi

The Real Story
Forbidden Knowledge
A Dark and Hungry God Arises
Chaos and Order
This Day All Gods Die

This is the second series of Donaldon's I've read. The first was his first Covenant series. I pretty much read them back to back and I enjoyed this one more than the Covenant books. In fact I'd put this series as top 5 or even top 3 for me. I really really loved them and could not put the books down. So what can I say about the series without giving it away.

Well it is science fiction and in earth's future. The human race is primarily run by the United Mining Corporation which has taken responsibility for all dealings in outer space as well as sole responsibility for mankind's dealing with the sole sentient alien race they have discovered, the Amnion.

Into this are thrust some very interesting people. Morn Hyland, a former UMCP (poilice) officer, Angus Thermopyle, a violent smuggler and captain of Bright Beauty , and Nick Succorso a roguish captain of the frigate Captain's Fancy and his crew. Out in the boundary between human and Amnion space these three come together. I really can't get into much details without making this a spoiler post but those three main people and how they interact and how the story develops is just gripping. It starts narrow in scope but eventually expands to epic proportions. Donaldson in the end of the first book described it as Wagnerian and there are elements of the Ring Cycle in the story.

The characters might not be likable at times. Well a lot of the time they are not likable. Angus and Nick are extremely dislikable at times. If you don't like having protagonists whose actions you don't like then you might have problems with this series. Some of the stuff in the first book can be graphic, including several scenes of rape. This is a weird series in that at times a lot of the characters you won't like (although that should change by the end) but they are still remarkably engaging and just left me wanting to read more and more.

The story as well is beautifully told and the amount of intrigue is just incredible. The science might be a little fuzzy in places but I thought it was pretty well done and was fairly credible. All in all just an amazing series. The last book takes place over a period of about 12 hours and is 600 pages long, all of it intensely gripping.

I'd give Real Story 4.5 amulets (cause of the graphic nature of some of it) and the rest of the books in this series 5 amulets. Easily one of my favorite series, up there with ASOIAF, Lymond, and the Malazan Book of the Fallen.


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