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Heaven's Shadow

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Ace (June 26 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937007642
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937007645
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 2.5 x 19 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 322 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #358,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

David S. Goyer is a screenwriter, film director, and comic book writer. His screenplays include Batman Begins and The Dark Knight and the upcoming Superman: Man of Steel.

Michael Cassutt is a television producer, scriptwriter, and author. His TV work includes The Twilight Zone, Max Headroom, and Eerie, Indiana. His novels include Missing Man and Red Moon.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Hardcover
I thought this was a good science-fiction novel and found it very entertaining. There was a lot of NASA-type jargon, so it felt as though Goyer and Cassutt did a lot of research into this area and, as a result, caused me to feel like I was riding right along with NASA. It didn't feel fake at all; it felt as though the events in this novel could actually happen one day. I found the story exciting -- exploring this near-earth object with the characters was exciting because you don't know what they're going to find. The story is also filled with action. I find that a lot of science-fiction novels don't have very much action, so I enjoyed the fact that this one did. It included alien encounters, people getting injured, and fight scenes.

All the characters were well-developed. They were all believable and easy to sympathize with. The main character, Zack, appears to be very cool-headed and mellow. He doesn't let his temper get in the way and all his decisions seem like they are calculated. But, really, he mainly acts off his gut feelings on the situation at hand. I liked his character.

There were points of this novel that shared similarities with Solaris by Stanislaw Lem, but it's also different. Where Solaris left the reader wondering and things unresolved, Heaven's Shadow resolved the reasons and explained everything to the reader in the end.

Overall, I thought this novel was good. It wasn't great, but I enjoyed it. I did want to read the second book, because I did enjoy this one, but I've heard it's super boring, so now I'm unsure. I thought the premise was a really cool idea and the authors did a good job with the writing. I also heard that there is a movie adaptation coming out eventually, which I'm excited to see when it comes out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By V Seldon on Sept. 22 2013
Format: Hardcover
I have been on a 15-year quest to find pure & hard sci-fi that's thrilling, action-packed, big concept, believable, & also easy to read (with character names that have vowels in them!)

I finally found such a book for the first time since the Rama series in the Heaven's trilogy. Absolute masterpiece and a jolly good trip into space. Get this now.
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By L. D. Godfrey TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 6 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Heavens Shadow:I had a few doubts about this book.I knew going in that this was the first novel of 3 but I wasn't going to shell out the money for #2 until I had an idea of what I was getting.(The 3rd installment comes out in August.) There are a lot of characters to keep track of. But the reader is helped here by a character list in the first part of the novel.You are dealing with two spacecraft,the craft's crew, mission control for both, technical staff and assorted others. It took a long time for the authours to get all their ducks in a row,and set the stage. After 70+ pages, you hit the good stuff.As the product description stated, two manned crafts race to a near earth object(NEO) called Keanu. They find not a frozen rock, but a spaceship with a message for humanity. This novel deals mostly with first contact, and everything that goes with it.There is only minimum techie jargon, which is fine with me.You get some but the authours don't beat you over the head with it.By the last few chapters things have gone pear shaped for all those concerned. You still don't have a firm grasp on who or what the aliens are or what they want,and you are left with a garden of Eden scencerio. If you need more info go to the product description of book 2 or 3. I thought it was a fun, interesting read.I enjoyed the novel.Enough that I have ordered the 2nd book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 51 reviews
27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Hard science, good characters, page-turning suspense Aug. 3 2011
By Brian K. Miller - Published on
Format: Hardcover
There are many kinds of science fiction. Some, like "Contact", "2001, A Space Odyssey", or "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", contain far more mystical speculation than hard science. Others, like "Have Spacesuit, Will Travel", "The Bones of Time", or "Neuromancer" stay grounded in the real world of current scientific knowledge while speculating on how future developments might affect our lives. "Heaven's Shadow" is one of these.

It opens with two groups, NASA and a Russian/Indian/Brazilian coalition, racing to land on the surface of an enormous Near Earth Object as it passes Earth. They discover that the assumed meteor is in fact a gigantic alien craft of some kind. As they explore the craft a variety of mistakes are made, including the detonation of a "suitcase" nuclear device on the craft's surface. Despite those mistakes, or perhaps because of them, the interactions between the alien species and humanity lead to the alien's recognition that humans might be helpful allies in an ancient, inter-universe conflict which is the subject of "Heaven's War" due out in July, 2012.

Along the way the book explores themes of life, death, love, and loss through realitistic interactions of a variety of colorful characters that includes both professional astronauts and rambunctious teenagers. The inclusion of both children and adults, the intimate portrayal of the role of technology in daily life, and the shift from past to present and personal to international all add up to a page-turning level of suspense that falls slightly short of Clancy or Ludlum, but is refreshing in what could just as easily have been a dull collage of facts and figures (which is a trap far too many hard science fiction writers fall into).

History is a hard beast to ride for a writer, often leading to unrealistic expectations in readers. In the past few decades there has been far too much mystical science fiction for my taste and far too little hard science fiction focused on the interlinked roles of everyday technology and extraordinary space flight. "Heaven's Shadow" marks a pleasantly surprising return to space-based, hard science fiction built from both realistic characters and realistic scientific assumption.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Begins well, stumbles in trying to find a direction, and ultimately falls face-first in choosing the wrong direction Feb. 23 2012
By Bob Milne - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is one of those stories where the whole doesn't live up to sum of its parts. The best parts of the story are in the first third, where the astronauts begin to realize that their rogue asteroid isn't wholly natural, and may in fact be home to the remnants of an alien civilization. The struggle between the duty of exploration, the joy of discovery, and the fear of the unknown is handled very well, with the astronauts coming across as both human and professional.

The second third has its moments, particularly in the first reveal of the sentinels and the remnants, but the story just can't sustain matters. As for the final third, it just becomes a jumbled mess that fumbles nearly all of the many of the balls it was juggling. The sheer lack of professionalism at NASA is ludicrous, the almost complete lack-of-reaction to the impact of alien probes is ridiculous, and the blink-and-you'll-miss-it Rapture would be comical, if it wasn't so strained and out-of-place.

It also needs to be said that the portrayal of women in this book is atrocious, and that's not an issue I generally take notice of. They're all weepy, emotional, fragile wrecks who are defined as much by their relationships as their reactions . . . and who, it is suggested, are possibly not fit to be astronauts in the first place. Once you realize it, it makes for a very uncomfortable read.

All-in-all, a novel that begins well, stumbles in trying to find a direction, and ultimately falls face-first in choosing the wrong direction. There's a sequel to come, but no interest here.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Pretty good addition to the First Contact genre Aug. 1 2011
By Kenneth B. Strumpf - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I found Heavens Shadow to be a pretty decent page turner, in fact I devoured it in a weekend. Briefly it tells the story of an effort to explore a new Near Earth Object that suddenly appears in the solar system. Two rival groups of astronauts, one US and the other from a rival coalition, race to be the first to land on the object, named Keanu. But rivalry must quickly turn to co-operation when Keanu turns out to be something entirely different from what it seemed to be. In the meantime Mission Control on the ground must deal with communication problems and a host of other issues.

I found the story pretty compelling and the characters mostly well written. A previous reviewer mentioned a tendency to jump around from present to past and this was a bit irritating, but it only happened early in the novel. I had a hard time keeping some of the Mission Control characters straight and the actions of one of the American astronauts (Pogo) were a bit hard to understand. Hence only four stars. But still, Heavens Shadow was an enjoyable read and is recommended.
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Caution July 18 2011
By michael alexander - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You'll probably enjoy this book under two conditions:

(1) You can readily believe that NASA will risk a million-dollar space exploration venture to a group of
"professionals" who sound like teenagers on a camping trip :

("'This is stupid', Natalia announced...")...
("'What's that shiny thing?,' Rachel asked...")....
("That was Patrick. 'This is getting even cooler!")

Anyone who has listened to what astronauts actually sound like when
they're on a mission will have trouble with this.

(2) You don't mind having action sequences constantly interrupted with sudden,
too-long passages into the past that break the momentum of the action and
get you flipping forward to get past the trivial exposition.

Other than that, it's OK.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A great meld of science and fiction! Aug. 17 2011
By The Florida Reviewer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The theme of this book has been addressed several times, so please indulge me as I jump over that part. We all understand the premise.

I would like to point out how obviously one of the writers, at least, was extremely well learned in the ways and wherefores of NASA, and the space program in general. The insight into NASA op's was pretty well authentic and that was a joy to see the blending of reality with science fiction.

No knock to other sci fi books, not at all. But having a writer who has written books about NASA and astronaut biographies, has made this a sci fi novel that wasn't much of a stretch.

Lest it sound like I think only one author had the "right stuff" please let me clarify: au contraire. It appears both writers, in concert, drew from each others strengths and weakness and complimented each other wonderfully.

Not a huge sci guy guy, I must say I enjoyed this thoroughly. Once I started, I had a hard time putting it down.

A job well done!