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Halo: Primordium: Book Two of the Forerunner Saga [Hardcover]

Greg Bear
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 3 2012 Halo (Tor Hardcover) (Book 2)

A long time ago, I was a living, breathing human being. I went mad. I served my enemies. They became my only friends.

Since then, I’ve traveled back and forth across this galaxy, and out to the spaces between galaxies--a greater reach than any human before me.

You have asked me to tell you about that time. Since you are the last true Reclaimer, I must obey. Are you recording? Good. Because my memory is failing rapidly. I doubt I’ll be able to finish the story.

Once, on my birth-world, a world I knew as Erde-Tyrene, and which now is called Earth, my name was Chakas...

In the wake of apparent self-destruction of the Forerunner empire, two humans--Chakas and Riser--are like flotsam washed up on very strange shores indeed.

Captured by the Master Builder, misplaced during a furious battle in space, they now find themselves on an inverted world where horizons rise into the sky, and where humans of all kinds are trapped in a perilous cycle of horror and neglect. For they have become both research animals and strategic pawns in a cosmic game whose madness knows no end--a game of ancient vengeance between the powers who seeded the galaxy with life, and the Forerunners who expect to inherit their sacred Mantle of duty to all living things.

In the company of a young girl and an old man, Chakas begins an epic journey across a lost and damaged Halo in search of a way home, an explanation for the warrior spirits rising up within, and for the Librarian’s tampering with human destiny.

This journey will take them into the Palace of Pain, the domain of a powerful and monstrous intelligence who claims to be the Last Precursor, and who now has control of both this Halo and the fate of Forerunners and Humans alike.

Called the Captive by Forerunners, and the Primordial by ancient human warriors, this intelligence has taken charge of, and retasked, the Master Builder’s cruel researches into the Flood--which it may have itself unleashed on the galaxy more than ten thousand years before.


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Halo: Primordium: Book Two of the Forerunner Saga + Halo: Cryptum: Book One of the Forerunner Saga + Halo: Silentium
Price For All Three: CDN$ 49.20

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About the Author

GREG BEAR is the author of more than thirty books of science fiction and fantasy, including Hull Zero Three, City at the End of Time, Eon, Moving Mars, Mariposa, and Quantico.  He is married to Astrid Anderson Bear and is the father of Erik and Alexandra. Awarded two Hugos and five Nebulas for his fiction, one of two authors to win a Nebula in every category, Bear has been called the “Best working writer of hard science fiction” by “The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.” His stories have been collected into an omnibus volume by Tor Books. Bear has served on political and scientific action committees and has advised both government agencies and corporations on issues ranging from national security to private aerospace ventures to new media and video game development. His most recent endeavor is a long-term collaboration with Neal Stephenson and the Subutai Corporation on The Mongoliad, an interactive serial novel available on multiple platforms, including iPhone, iPad, and Kindle.


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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great backstory Dec 7 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is great backstory to the HALO saga. It really gets into the essence of the whole story. Fantastic read.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By fastreader TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Having met, in the first book of this series called "Cryptum", the Didact: who is a Forerunner warrier frozen in the Cryptum, Bornstelllar: the inquisitive young Forerunner who releases him, and Chakas and Riser: two human variations on the planet Erde-Tyrene this book carries on with the discovery of an Autonomous Mechanical Intelligence (Forerunner Monitor) device by a science team.

The monitor contains Chakas' memories and proceeds to describe Chakas memories of his life and what happened to him after the battle at the end of book one.

Along the way the device tells a story that at times the science team finds hard to believe except that some key pieces of information match that from other sources

Chakas story starts with his regaining consciousness on a planet. He was ejected from the Forerunner ship and landed in a protective pod. What he thought was a planet turns out to be a HALO over 30,000 miles in diameter. The people are barely surviving on the HALO and there are experiments being done on them in a place called the Palace of Pain.

Chakas meets Vinnevra and her grandfather called Gamelpar. They had rescued him from his life pod. They are soon exploring the Halo as it not safe where they are and Chakas wants to find Riser. Vinnevra's inner gaes give her guidance where to go, and their journey begins.

It also becomes evident that a planet is heading straight for the HALO which starts to affect the HALO and makes the journey undertaken by Chakras even more tennous.

Greg Bear weaves an intriguing tale as Chakras tells his story of exploring the HALO and of actually meeting a Precursor. The story starts to clarify the Precursor / Forerunner conflict and the Floods connection to it all.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Letdown to the Halo franchise March 25 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I own all the previous Halo novels and love them all. Having read Cryptum there was no way I would pass this one up. But having read it, I feel like I would have been better off just reading the synopsis on Wikipedia because for 95% of the book nothing happens. And I mean NOTHING.

There are probably 3 or 4 incidents of note to take away from this book but they only comprise a couple dozen or so pages. The rest is just a few humans walking around aimlessly on a Halo. With every passing chapter you have that feeling of some impending excitement but you finish the book and it never comes.

I've just started reading Glasslands and there is more worthwhile story in the first chapter than there was in this whole book. In the end, the biggest waste of money and time since the disaster that was the Halo Encyclopedia. I sincerely hope the 3rd book is better.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great . . . just a little too "alien" Feb. 15 2012
By DKD
Format:Hardcover
Halo Primordium is a really good novel, for those who are so neck deep into the halo universe to have read Cryptum. It continues the story of a secondary character from Cryptum, who has a very different view on the world.

All in all its a good book, but just like cryptum, it feels a little too "alien", with too little visual reference for the readers. For most of us, all we know about the forerunners comes from their architecture and the short glimpse at them in the halo legends anime, and I found that to be quite off setting.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  158 reviews
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For the avid Halo fan only May 22 2012
By Douglas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a pretty good book in the Halo series. The pace is slow until about 1/2 way in, and then things start picking up. The first half of the novel is literally about the main characters walking across Halo.... then things get interesting.

I would NOT suggest this book if you have not read Cryptum, and I would NOT suggest reading it if you are not that into the extended fiction. This series does NOT feature the Covenant or UNSC, but the earlier factions (forrunner, ancient humans, flood). It is not paced like The Fall of Reach, or Ghosts of Onyx. Therefore, it may not be enjoyable because this series is building the set for Halo 4 - not any of the previous games and some people fail to realize that.

If you are looking for more "Halo 2-3" style stories, you should read Halo: Evolutions.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping look into Humanity's past and ties to the Forerunners Aug. 14 2012
By Scrantonicity - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Primordium picks up soon after the events of the first book. Much of the first book detailed the Forerunner culture and its inner workings. In the second book we follow Chakas, a supporting human character from book 1. Chakas is stranded on a Halo ring and he journeys with some others he meets to figure out how to escape. This book details his journey and the epic revelations he uncovers.

What follows is a very enthralling story that develops Chakas as a character and reveals layer after layer of the Human/Forerunner relations and the events that have led up to book 1, Halo Cryptum.

We learn more of the war between Humans and Forerunners and get glimpses into the Flood and the mysterious Captive (from book 1) and their impact in the Universe.

This isn't an action or plot oriented book. Its about discovery and mythology. If you don't have patience for character and story then this book will probably bore you. If you are interested in the mythology of the Halo Universe then you will be delighted. Greg Bear blows the doors open and fills the Halo Universe with depth and countless possibilities.

I tore through this book eager for each bit of tantalizing mythology that would be revealed. Slowly, the world is opened up to us, not in blatant exposition but rather along side Chakas as he catches glimpses into his own genetic past the mysteries of the Flood, the Geas implanted by the Librarian, the Forerunner/Human War and war currently taking place.

This book is very important in understanding the place of Humans in this universe and definitely worth the read.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A hit-and-miss entry that definitely differs from the first book in the series Oct. 7 2012
By T. Hill - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Wow, what a surprise this book has been. I came in expecting it to be the darker middle entry in a trilogy that would ultimately have a tragic-but-hopeful ending. This book is not that. It is dark to be sure, but in many ways, this hardly feels in any way like a sequel to Cryptum. The only thing that even reminds me that this is related to that book is that some characters reappear, and that it takes place on a Halo, but that's about it. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but there's no doubt this book suffers a bit more than the first, despite its strengths.

This book takes place starting at an event roughly two-thirds of the way through Cryptum, when everyone has been captured by the Master Builder. Somehow, Chakas and Riser have been misplaced in a chaotic situation and end up on a rogue Halo installation, now under the control of the mysterious Primordial and the rampant AI Mendicant Bias. The story is told through Chakas' viewpoint, and chronicles his journey alongside companions new and old across the surface of this great ringworld, in excruciating detail. It's a VERY interesting story and quite compelling at times. There are tons of genuinely fascinating concepts, ideas, events, and characters dotting the landscape of this story. The actual events and revelations are truly great and some are even moving. It's not perfect though. Characters' moods and emotions will sometimes change on a dime for seemingly no reason, and it feels at times like there's little genuine character development, which is a shame after Cryptum did such a good job at that.

Much like Cryptum, Bear really captures the essence of the main character, and his viewpoint of the world becomes our own in the story. Because of that though, I find that the story in Primordium has almost no structure. The perspective is firmly focused on Chakas, what happens to him, and what he thinks about everything happening, but the narrative of the book never has any structure that really tells you what is happening in the overall "Forerunner Trilogy" big picture. You have to figure it out yourself in many parts. The characters have no destination in mind, are confused for most of the book as to what to do or where to go, and trust me, you'll share those feelings of confusion and uncertainty. I'm not sure if that was a purposeful narrative decision by Greg Bear, and I'm also not certain of whether or not it's a good thing. When you add in the ancestral imprints by the Librarian, who are practically characters unto themselves, and you've got another layer of complication. Another side-effect of seeing the world through Chakas' eyes is that, because pretty much everything outside of Earth is foreign and mysterious to Chakas, descriptions of almost everything are really confusing and nonsensical. Bornstellar at least understood what Forerunner tech was and how it worked and so did we as readers, even if we didn't understand all of its inner-workings, we at could at least understand what function it had and what it did. Chakas has no clue as to even that, so encounters with, for example, Forerunner cities or transport trains on Halo, are confusing to even figure out how to imagine what it looks like in our minds.

I find that this book suffers from the issues that Cryptum had, but much, much more so. Many of the important revelations in the story are buried and almost lost in tons and tons of exposition that focuses on minute and completely unimportant details. It's no exaggeration to say that for every page of genuinely compelling development in the overall narrative, there's anywhere from 7-10 pages of, for narrative purposes, useless information that merely extends the story's mass. Tons of effort went into describing minute details of every landscape they came across, the smallest details of landmarks such as a tree or a structure, and things like that. Then, huge moments, such as encounters with the Primordial or Mendicant Bias, flash by in just a few pages. Thankfully, all of the exposition is still focused on fascinating things, such as the Halo's landscape and innerworkings, as well as the countless people all inhabiting the Halo. Even if it is "fluff," it's still pretty interesting to take in. Personally, I don't mind more pensive, meandering novels (I loved Xenocide, which was much the same way) and so I liked most of Primordium myself despite all the "fluff." I can't deny that this book definitely has a ton of build-ups without enough pay-off to justify it though, and sometimes the overall narrative gets buried by all the fluff. Really, all of the pivotal information could be condensed into a short-story ranging anywhere from 100-180 pages and still be good. Who knows?

This book is genuinely compelling, its overall story is quite interesting if not confusing to patch together at times, and has a lot of interesting revelations at a pivotal, but small event in the Forerunner-Flood war.Personally, I found it hard to put the book down a lot of the time, but after finishing it, I recognize its flaws and some can be glaring. There's a lot of mind-blowing revelations in this book, and some of the pay-offs, while not given nearly as much page-space as the build ups, are truly spectacular. I just find that this book is not as good as Cryptum. I understand that Bear was given strict instructions by 343 Industries about what details to include to give us tantalizing hints at what's to come in Halo 4, but also plenty of details to exclude, so as to keep Halo 4 surprising and compelling when we finally play it. I understand that, but sometimes in the name of keeping on this strict narrative schedule, this book suffered a bit. Silentium seems poised to answer all questions that the first two books left unanswered (released a couple months after Halo 4 of course. Gotta keep that schedule. :P). It was hard for me to rate this book, but despite its problems, I enjoyed it. If you are a massive Halo fan like I am, then this is a good book to get, but it will also take some effort to get into and understand, not to mention patience to keep up with it. I hope that helps. Thank you and good day. :)
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly boring April 29 2013
By Duckets615 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Imagine you go on a camping trip with a bunch of friends for a few days. Write down every little thing you see or do, write down every time you stopped to look at a weird plant, write down every time you saw a squirrel running up a tree, write down every time you stopped to go to the bathroom, and then at the very end of your trip a bunch of aliens show up and do some cool sh@# and what you have is basically Halo Primordium. This entire book is humans walking around a Halo describing every tiny little thing they see to the point you want to slam your head against the wall to break the boredom. 7/8 of this book is entirely unnecessary and serve no purpose to the plot except to fill up pages. How this guy got a book like this published is beyond me.
13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Meh... July 31 2012
By T. Holtz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I read the first of the Series and rated it a 4 out of 5. It was not as fast paced as the original Halo book series but I expected that. This (book 2 of the Forerunner trilogy) was so slow, so painful to read that I don't understand how it passed the editors. The first 3/4 of the book are pointless for the most part, it details Risers journey across the Halo and all the mundane things that come across his path to lord knows where. The author painstakingly details things that are irrelevant to the bigger picture (like how a tree looks) but quickly breezes through important points (like the grave mind encounter) with little to no detail. The plot is boring and there was little to no character development. Peoples moods change for no reason and mostly everything is eventually explained by the monitors which, again, should have happened sooner in the book to keep the readers attention. If I knew I was about to read a book about boring alien landscapes I would rather have watched grass grow. Very disappointed in the book as a whole. Almost felt like this could have been a short story as 80% of the text is filler.

You have been warned...
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