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Chaos and Order: The Gap Into Madness [Hardcover]

Stephen R. Donaldson
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 1 1994
As the planetoid Thanatos Minor explodes into atoms, a specially-fitted cruiser escapes the mass destruction and hurtles into space only a step ahead of hostile pursuit. On board Trumpet are a handful of bedraggled fugitives from an outlaw world - old enemies suddenly and violently thrown together in a desperate bid for survival. Among this unlikely crew of allies are Morn Hyland, once a UMC cop, now a prisoner to the electrodes implanted in her brain; her son, Davies, "force-grown" to adulthood by the alien Amnion and struggling to understand his true identity; the amoral space buccaneer Nick Succorso, whose most daring act of piracy could be his last; and Angus Thermopyle, unstoppable cyborg struggling to wrest control of his own mind from his UMC programmers.


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Punisher is on the run from Billingate Space Station, as well as other predators that follow: UMCP Enforcement Division director Min Donner aboard a crippled Punisher, Nick's archenemy (and slave to the aliens) Sorus Chatelaine aboard Soar, and the mysterious hired gun, Free Lunch. Corrupt cyborg Angus Thermopyle and ruthless Nick Succorso battle for control of the ship and the situation. Their trail leads to Valdor Industrial, where geneticist/engineer Vector Shaheed seeks to redeem himself by manufacturing an antidote to the mutagen used by the alien Amnioni to mutate human beings against their will. Brutalized yet resilient Morn Hyland, her clone/son Davies, tough officer Mikki, Pup, Sib, and the rest continue their suffering and sacrificing.

Meanwhile, back in Earth space, police and politicians battle for power as UMCP director Dios continues his grim revolution against the Dragon. Assassin kazes, political fears, and provocative bills threaten to paralyze the Governing Council for Earth and Space.

Ships battling in space? Laboratory space stations developing antimutagen antidotes against the aliens who seek to conquer humankind by mutation? Outrage, brutality, betrayal, and secrets? Donaldson lays it all out with sharp dialogue, tense scenes, and zippy action. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

This fourth installment of Donaldson's Gap series may at first confuse even those who have read the previous volumes, since there's no summary of what has gone before and the plot is extremely convoluted. Once it gets going, though, the action moves forward like a juggernaut. Pursued by a police battle cruiser, by a bounty hunter and by a ship commanded by human agents of the dreaded Amnion, an alien race, Angus Thermopyle heads his ship, Trumpet , for an illegal lab hidden in a chaotic asteroid belt. There, Thermopyle, once a fearsome pirate, now a cyborg partially controlled by police programming, plans to have the secret "antimutagen," which protects humans against the forced mutation practiced by the Amnion, replicated for mass distribution. Aboard Trumpet are the survivors from the pirate ship Captain's Fancy , including Morn Hyland (the series' long-suffering heroine) and her erstwhile tormentor, Nick Succorso. The larger conflict between Warden Dios, head of the United Mining Companies police, and Holt Fasner, CEO of the powerful megacorporation, moves closer to its climax; but the real excitement comes with the extended chase and battle in the asteroid swarm. Series readers will be glad to see that this installment, which at last begins to resolve the overall plot, offers plenty of thrills and an exciting finish that will leave them eager for the fifth and final volume.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Real people Feb. 27 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
One of the reasons that I liked the gap series and other novels by Donaldson are that his main characters aren't always good. In most other novels written in this era the main characters are always battling depression and other "bad" feelings but in the gap series the main characters are tough vicious and would eat you alive if you didn't beat them to the punch. The simple fact is that "good" people just wouldn't survive in the worlds that science fiction and fantasy authors create. Most authors depict the main character as someone who at their core is honorable and the simple fact of the matter is honorable people don't stand a chance of a snowball in hell in the situations that they are usually painted in. The concept of you have to use fire to fight fire is hundreds if not thousands of years old and I always find it refreshing to see authors use this concept when depicting characters that have to challenge each other.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
While "Chaos and Order" isn't as tightly plotted and intricate as "A Dark and Hungry God Arises", it is still rippingly good. The tale is a rollercoaster from following-on beginning to incomplete end, unlike the previous book, which more amounted to an examination of shifting alliances and intrigue amid the profound psychology of its characters, all concentrating and shifting onto one place, accruing to a kind of psychological "critical mass", at which point Thanatos Minor explodes. One of the core themes of Chaos and Order - running about through a maelstrom of rock, the hurtling debris of shattered plans, shattering and coalescing into new forms - follows on from the diametrically opposing theme of the previous story brilliantly.
As the web of intrigue and murder in and around Earth is expanded to a fully-fledged political thriller, we have the important characters from the previous story - Nick, Morn, Angus, Davies, Vector, Mikka, and with them the rather incidental Sib and Pup - all saved from the storm of Thanatos Minor's ruin and flung off just ahead of half a dozen people who want them alive; or, if they can't have them alive, then blown to atoms like Billingate. Everyone else - from *Captain's Fancy* - is dead. While this may seem like a bit of a *deus ex machina* (subtle nod towards Angus, I'm sure), in practice it works out fine.
They are now on the run, the most explosive body of information in Human Space, and seeking to make themselves even more explosive by letting Vector Shaheed, the geneticist, complete the anti-mutagen drug which the United Mining Companies Police suppressed, which will give humankind a defence against alien absorption, however temporary.
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1.0 out of 5 stars A poor effort Dec 20 2001
By Chaon
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book pales in comparison to the first two books of the series, and is about as bad as the third. Gone are the fascinating character developments- in their place you get hack writing, bad science, and literary drudgery. Go ahead and read it if you are a Donaldson devotee, otherwise don't waste your time.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Donaldson is a great writer July 21 2001
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I haven't read this particular book, but if it is anything like the other books he has written then I will be sure to like it. I rated it 3 stars only because I haven't read it as yet.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment May 3 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Donaldson can tell a story, but this series was weak. Character development is excellent; but theme clarity is muddy; and there is no climax - in fact - there is no ending, just loose ends fairly disconnected from the developed nature of the characters. My recommendation is to re-read the Thomas Covanent Series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking! Jan. 24 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Unplug your phone, lock your doors and practice holding your breath. Like the previous volumes in the Gap series, this one is impossible to put down, once you start. The story captivates you from the first chapter of The Real Story, and you come to know all the characters intimately, whether you like them or not. This is one of the top science fiction series I have ever read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Like all of Donaldson's books, excellent Aug. 2 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is not so much about the world that the characters are living in, but the characters themselves. Donaldson seems to take real people and fold them into the page, bringing them alive. They all have a sense of balance and reality to them, so that you even find yourself interested in 'the bad guys'. They are set out into a unique universe and sucked into an expansive and dramatic struggle that makes all of the books in this series 'page turners'. Donaldson is simply the best. I suggest giving it a try(start with 'the real story'). If you like this series give his fantasy series, Thomas Covenant the unbeliever, a try. Even if you don't usually like fantasy, his characters make it worthwhile. Summation: If you haven't already, READ THIS BOOK.... and then review it so that more word gets out.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Empowerment everywhere Dec 24 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I think this book is the most compelling and powerful in the entire Gap Cycle. All the main characters come into their own power fully in this book. Yes, even Ciro, in his own way. Of special note is the fact that not until all secrets are revealed can the characters begin to unravel the tapestry of events that has enshrouded them. Morn's forgiveness towards Angus makes her a great heroine. This one will keep you in suspense all the way through.
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