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Beowulf's Children [Mass Market Paperback]

Larry Niven , Jerry Pournelle , Steven Barnes
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 15 1996
A new generation is growing up on the island paradise of Camelot, ignorant of the Great Grendel Wars fought when their parents and grandparents first arrived on Earth. Setting out for the mainland, this group of young rebels feels ready to fight any grendels that get in their way. On Avalon, however, there are monsters which drawf the ones their parents fought, and as the group will soon learn, monsters also dwell in the human heart.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This sequel to the authors' bestselling The Legacy of Heorot (1987), in which "Earth Born" colonists vanquished an alien life-form known as the Grendels (hence the title here), starts slowly. The colonists' children (the "Star Born") spend too much of the first half of the novel discussing the "brain damage" the older generation has suffered as a result of the long trip to the planet. Meanwhile, the whiff of social Darwinism that blows through the book is enhanced when Aaron Tragon, the only "Star Born" who both gestated in an artificial womb and never bonded with any of the families on the planet, leads a movement to colonize Avalon's mainland. Aaron becomes increasingly vicious?a matter blamed primarily on his lack of a familial bond?after his calculated cruelties lead to his being given exactly the authorization he desires. Ultimately, the colonists end up less with success in the present than with hope for the future, with much of that hope deriving from the novel's improbable denouement. The authors create several unusual indigenous life-forms that make the mainland a fascinating place, and in-jokes designed to please SF fans are scattered throughout the narrative. Even Niven/Pournelle/Barnes loyalists, however, will find the one-dimensional characterizations here (especially of the women), as well as the increasingly absurd actions of the humans, disappointing. The bloom that lured many readers to the original is long off the paper rose of this book.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

For two decades, the colonists of the planet Avalon hid from the carnivorous monsters of the main continent by securing themselves within their island fortress of Camelot. Now their children, the Star Born, have one goal: to conquer the mainland for themselves and for their colony's future in the stars. This fast-paced, complex sequel to The Legacy of Heorot (S. & S., 1987) blends the talents of three top-notch sf raconteurs. Strongly defined characters and intriguing, speculative science make this novel an example of panoramic sf adventure at its best. A good choice as a stand-alone story or in combination with its predecessor. For most sf collections.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fitting sequel Sept. 9 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The trio of authors involved in this have to be commended for not basically rewriting the first book with different characters, which I think is what a lot of people expected/hoped for considering the hostile reviews this (and "The Gripping Hand" another sequel in the same vein) have garnered. Of course they can't capture the magic of the first book because that was all about the shock of the new . . . but they gamely try here and almost succeed. If you haven't figured it out yet, reading this book is absolutely useless without first having at least a passing knowledge of the Legacy of Heorot, this expands the story twenty years beyond the end of that book (one of the problems is that there was no pressing need for a sequel, the first book wrapped itself up fairly well and neatly) and follows new and old characters as a new generation grows up on the planet of Avalon and gets ready to grab the torch and settle the planet. The Grendel Wars of twenty years ago are long forgotten and the generation gap is in full force here with the "Earthborn" and "Starborn" undergoing quite a bit of friction with each other. This book is highly entertaining and you'll find yourself devouring large chunks of it in a sitting, it's not a weighty philosophical book, mostly adventure with a bunch of science thrown in to dazzle the readers. Part of the problem is it tries to be everything at once and winds up being gigantic without really satisfying any of those parts. It's a scientific exploration of Avalon, delving into the flora and fauna with typical Niven zeal, and I have to admit his ideas are dazzling, the place feels both alien and familiar at the same time. Read more ›
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3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing sequel to a great book Feb. 5 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
We all knew that "Legacy" is an extremely difficult act to follow. Unfortunately, the pressure that the authors were under shows on Beowulf. It is strained and patchy. May be the society that evolved on Avalon is too futuristic to make sense to us but trying to sound outlandish just by strange sexual rituals feels a bit naive.
Not that there are some good efforts at trying to come up with good ideas. I liked the parts from grendel's viewpoint best. And there is even an attempt at the explanation of how intelligence might have come about (at least for grendels): disease.
Unfortunately, the suspense is lacking. The mysterious killers that are repelled by (I won't say what it is for people who may read the book) .... are no surprise, really. Although the ecology of Avalon is explained in detail I still had to push myself hard to imagine the planet. I didn't have that problem with Legacy. The telling was so graphic, I felt immersed in the first novel of the series.
The characters are vaguely defined. I usually develop strong feelings such as "like and hate" for the main characters in any book I read. With Beowulf, this was very difficult. I couldn't even visualize them. They are too thinly spread, in my opinion.
Still, for any lover of the Legacy, this is a must read. Just don't raise your expectation too high or you will be as dissapointed as me. IF there is another book to come (and I must say I hope there isn't because I don't see how they will be able to recover after losing so many critical characters and not being able to create any new ones with real substance) I hope they do a better job of it.
One final remark: the edition that I read was horrible. There were several mistakes. It was sloppy work and this added to the disappointment I felt.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Different than the first, but still very good! Nov. 30 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I picked up The Legacy of Heorot the predecessor to this book a few months ago and read it thinking that it was a standalone piece. While browsing for books I found this sequel and grabbed it up having enjoyed the first book. Obviously, if you haven't read the first book go check out the reviews for it before reading any further.
The second book picks up about twenty years give or take after the events of the first. The next generation has grown into their own and are faced with the fact that their parents are much too cautious in exploring their adopted homeworld. Their parents, the characters from the first book, have built up their own system for making decisions. This takes into consideration their experiences with Grendals in the first book and the fact that most to varying degree were affected by their trip to the planet in hibernation. In the words of their children they have ice on their minds.
The new generation of children includes some that were embryos brought from earth born from artificial wombs. These children were raised among the colonists without a strict mother and father. The standout among these now grown bottle babies is Aaron Tragon. His leadership of the new generation is what sends them out to explore the unknown main continent.
Cadmann Weyland and the original group of colonists struggle to deal with the differing attitudes of this new generation which leads to conflict. The hostile nature of the planet itself comes into play as well giving this book a tense edge as after having seen the events of the first book the reader is left wondering what other dangers lurk on the main continent. When those dangers come to the fore they make for exciting and fascinating moments.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing but an interlude...
I am a big fan of Niven/Pournelle/Barnes, however this book really was nothing more than a long and only somewhat entertaining interlude in the Legacy series. Read more
Published on Jan. 22 2004 by Scott Harris
2.0 out of 5 stars Ho Hum!
Books by the Pournelle/Niven team are generally among my favorites in the SciFi genre. Unfortunatly this is one of their few real "duds". Read more
Published on July 20 2002 by Rodger Raubach
1.0 out of 5 stars Beowulf's Children
A very large disappointment both as a sequel to "Legacy" and being written by Niven and Pournelle. Read more
Published on Nov. 20 2001 by Mike Moran
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the first one.
While it may not be as good as the first the writing is better, it is also a nice return to see how the charactors have got on after the first story. Read more
Published on Nov. 1 2000 by Alexander Korbey
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not Quite as Good as "The Legacy of Heorot"
This sequel to "The Legacy of Heorot" is interesting and entertaining, but it seems a bit pale by comparison with the earlier novel. Read more
Published on Oct. 18 2000 by watzizname
5.0 out of 5 stars Legacy of Heorot: The Sequel
Having just finished this over the weekend I would give it a thumbs up, with some reservations. First of all it is a sequel and best read after the original. Read more
Published on June 13 2000 by "oxzo"
2.0 out of 5 stars Beowulf's Children lacks the punch of Legacy of Heorot
The sequel to Legacy of Heorot(LOH), takes you back to Avalon 25 years after the Grendel Wars. The community is split between the orginal settlers and the "Star Born". Read more
Published on March 22 2000 by Jason Moll
4.0 out of 5 stars As luck would have it, some Grendels do have brains...
I just read this long awaited sequel to the Pournelle, Niven and Barnes trio that gave us Legacy. While I did find that it lacked the pure sci-fi adrenaline of Legacy, it did give... Read more
Published on Jan. 7 2000 by Kevin Taft
3.0 out of 5 stars Could authors have nabbed story idea from someone else?
Though I read "Beowulf's Children" before even receiving "The Legacy of Heorot", I got the distinct impression at least one of these authors had come across... Read more
Published on Oct. 30 1999 by Cathy L. Hicks
3.0 out of 5 stars There have been better
The development of Avalon ecology is interesting, but the characters are flat. Plot could have used some thickening. I think the best read is Footfall.
Published on Sept. 21 1999
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