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The Duke of Uranium Mass Market Paperback – Sep 1 2002


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Aspect (Sept. 1 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044661081X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446610810
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 14.7 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 145 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,988,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Booklist

Barnes' latest is a wildly entertaining homage to the best '60s Heinlein juveniles, an amiable, slangy adventure for the teenager in everyone. Good-looking, athletic Jak Jinnaka, 18, has survived compulsory education with the help of his pretty girlfriend, Sesh, and a generous allowance from Uncle Sib. After Sesh is kidnapped, Uncle Sib explains a few things. Sesh is really the princess of the powerful distant planet Greenworld. Sib is a senior agent of a political cabal, or zybot, planning to rescue and then, possibly, exploit her. Promising Jak will meet no harm, Sib invites him to be an emissary to Sesh's captors. On the long trip to the Duchy of Uranium, Jak befriends a few members of a trading starship's crew, survives his shuttle being shot out of the sky, befriends the duchy's imprisoned heir, and discovers additional details of Sib's career that make joining Sib's particular political group something he should consider very, very carefully. Lots of action, dancing, interesting clothes, hints of sex, and a lovable, laid-back hero. Roberta Johnson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

From the Inside Flap

The acclaimed author of A Million Open Doors and Mother of Storms, John Barnes presents THE DUKE OF URANIUM, a fast-paced new adventure in the spirit of Harry Harrison and Robert A. Heinlein. In this spectacular tale of action and intrigue, a thirty-sixth century young man discovers that the solar system is far more complex, and deadly, than he'd ever imagined .... on the bad side of entropy.

For eighteen-year-old Jak Jinnaka, life in the Hive space colony is a simple routine of schoolwork and partying. But his world irrevocably turns topsy-turvy one night when strangers viciously attack Jak and kidnap his girlfriend, Sesh. Then Jak learns that Sesh is really a princess from a distant world and that his Uncle Sib is actually a spymaster who is running a covert cabal vying to control the solar system. Adding to his shock, Jak comes to the startling realization that he has been groomed since birth to become a secret agent. And his first assignment is to ransom Sesh from her captor, the mysterious Duke of Uranium. Yet the one truth nobody tells Jak is that the thirty-sixth century itself is based on lies, where no one and nothing are as they seem. And the only way for Jak to make sure his maiden mission is not his last is to discover what his true mission really is!

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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"The Duke of Uranium" is the very readable first of a series of Jak Jinnaka novels, which gets better ("A Princess of the Aerie") and better ("In the Hall of the Martian King". The series is clearly written for a relatively mature teenage and young adult audience, but it has enough meat to satisfy a more demanding adult reader as well. Some readers seem to think the light sprinkling of coined words could mystify some readers, but the most-used ones are rather obviously related to existing words, not all English. By the context, the reader will soon "dak" (perceive) that "toktru" means something like "talk true" or "I tell you truly" or "You tell us truly." "Tove" (friend) is presumably derived from the Russian "tovarich," and
"heet" from the Japanese "hito" (person). There are a few more, but again, the meanings soon become clear from the contexts.
This series is not John Barnes' best work, but this book was interesting and enjoyable enough to entice me to read "A Princess of the Aerie," which I would give about 4 1/3 stars and "In the Hall of the Martian King," which I would rate at about 4 7/8 stars.
I am definitely looking forward to Jak's next adventure.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Duke of Uranium is the first novel in the Jak Jinnaka series. Fifteen hundred years after the development of spaceflight, there are human colonies spread throughout the Solar System. However, they are not alone, for the alien Rubahy have a colony on Pluto, the last remnant of the invading force that survived the sterilization of their home planet. Any century now, the Galactic Court will issue their verdict in the case resulting from that war and maybe issue an Extermination Order against both parties. In the meantime, the round impact craters from the Rubahy bombardment of the Northern Hemisphere by near lightspeed projectiles sparkle like sequins in the sunlight as one approaches the planet.
In this novel, Jak is taking his last required class in gen school, bored out of his mind as usual. When the period ends, he and his tove, Dujuv, pre-order their habitual fare at the Old China Cafe and claim a private booth when they arrive so that they can check their admission scores for the Public Service Academy. Jak misses the cutoff for his genetic type by 65 points and Dujuv misses by 11 points. Neither one is likely to be attending PSA. On to the contingency plans; Jak intends to join the Army and Dujuv decides to become a professional slamball player.
Soon thereafter, their demmies join them, having accessed the databank after the boys reading their scores removed the privacy flags; Sesh says hello to Jak, but Myxenna plasters Dujuv against the backwall with a kiss. When Dujuv is allowed to come up for air, Myx states that she has made the cut, but Sesh says that she also missed the cutoff. When the boys tell them about their career ideas, Sesh surprises them by saying she is going to be a Social Parasite and just live off her family's money.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
John Barnes is one of the finest science fiction writers of his generation; he mixes an exceptional sense of how societies work with a good grounding in hard science, and casts it all into a dramatic framework of interesting characters and tension-driven plotting. I've never read a book of his I didn't enjoy; indeed, I try and read everything he publishes. This book is a young adult novel, and a good one. John Barnes has clearly read the master of the science fiction young adult novel, Robert Heinlein; much of the social setting for this novel builds off of Heinlein's "Starship Troopers" in particular (the need to perform some service, military or otherwise, to become a full citizen). As a teacher who uses young adult novels throughout the year, I have to say that this novel presents two problems for the young reader: one, Barnes' invention of new words will confuse most young readers whose vocabularies may not be strong enough to recognize which words are real and which invented (there were moments I wasn't sure what his new words inferred, despite a doctorate in English and long decades spent reading science fiction); and two, the novel becomes less and less inventive as the pages turn: in his interests in establishing a series, many characters are introduced and conflicts left unresolved, and the main conflict that is wrapped up is done in a particularly formulaic way. I don't want to say more, because I don't want to give away any plot secrets (and the editorial review above gives a decent plot summary), but I found my own excitement growing less at the moment when it should have been accelerating. All in all, a solid effort, but one that forgets Heinlein's basic principle: all books need to be self-contained to be truly effective.Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 15 reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
A solid attempt spoiled by the need to be a series Oct. 24 2002
By Robert James - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
John Barnes is one of the finest science fiction writers of his generation; he mixes an exceptional sense of how societies work with a good grounding in hard science, and casts it all into a dramatic framework of interesting characters and tension-driven plotting. I've never read a book of his I didn't enjoy; indeed, I try and read everything he publishes. This book is a young adult novel, and a good one. John Barnes has clearly read the master of the science fiction young adult novel, Robert Heinlein; much of the social setting for this novel builds off of Heinlein's "Starship Troopers" in particular (the need to perform some service, military or otherwise, to become a full citizen). As a teacher who uses young adult novels throughout the year, I have to say that this novel presents two problems for the young reader: one, Barnes' invention of new words will confuse most young readers whose vocabularies may not be strong enough to recognize which words are real and which invented (there were moments I wasn't sure what his new words inferred, despite a doctorate in English and long decades spent reading science fiction); and two, the novel becomes less and less inventive as the pages turn: in his interests in establishing a series, many characters are introduced and conflicts left unresolved, and the main conflict that is wrapped up is done in a particularly formulaic way. I don't want to say more, because I don't want to give away any plot secrets (and the editorial review above gives a decent plot summary), but I found my own excitement growing less at the moment when it should have been accelerating. All in all, a solid effort, but one that forgets Heinlein's basic principle: all books need to be self-contained to be truly effective. Heinlein himself never violated that principle in his juveniles, and Barnes shouldn't either. The mania for series we find among adult readers has not inserted itself as the dominant trend in young adult readers (although there are series to be found, they are not the dominant form writers for this market mostly follow). That said, I would only recommend this book to a very bright young reader, with a solid vocabulary, who will be willing to put up with an ending that is far too open for its own good.
Enjoyable - definitely worth the time! Jan. 11 2014
By Lolly99 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the first time I've read one of John Barnes' books, and I'm glad I did. Although some reviewers felt that the beginning was a bit slow, I enjoyed it. For me,describing the setting is a vital part of the book, especially for a story that takes place so far into the future. There is more than enough action throughout the story to keep any reader engaged. One day, Jak is living the life of a carefree young adult, having completed his compulsory education,and looking forward to hanging out with his best friends while he figures out what to do next with his life. Suddenly, people in Jak's life aren't the people he thought they were, and he find himself on a vital mission to save someone he cares about. The characters are likable and well developed. Very enjoyable coming of age book. Would definitely read other books by this author.
Youth in Space -- Good start to a series Dec 14 2013
By Marilyn Armstrong - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
In a future a few thousand years from now, Jak Jinnaka and his pals are having a grand old time. Partying hearty and ignoring everything he’s supposed to be learning at school, he hasn’t spent any time or effort thinking about the future. Any future, but especially his own. His got a great best friend, a gorgeous girlfriend and no responsibilities.

But that ends abruptly the day his girlfriend, Sesh, is kidnapped. He’s beaten senseless and discovers the world is nothing like he thought it was.

It’s a brand new reality. The beautiful, free-wheeling party girl Sesh is Princess Shyf of Greenworld, heiress and only daughter of the rulers of a powerful kingdom. Jak’s Uncle Sib is not merely the kindly old guy who controls the family money, but a legendary spymaster. Now, it appears Jak is about to enter the family business with no training or time to think about possible repercussions.

It’s the first book in a new series obviously aimed at a teen audience. As was Harry Potter, so I didn’t consider its youthful skew an obstacle to enjoyment. I did sometimes find it a bit young for me … but I also found it witty and frequently laugh-out-loud funny. Barnes’ observations on society and culture is razor-sharp.

The characters are fun and interesting. They grow and change, something I always appreciate in a book. This was promoted as being along the lines of Heinlein’s young adult literature, but Barnes writes nothing like Heinlein. I like Heinlein — that’s not true. I love Heinlein. But I like Barnes too. You don’t need to lure me with promises of “another Heinlein.” I don’t need the incentive. I’d read it anyhow.

The book takes a long time to catch fire. Barnes has created a world and needs to explain it. I’d prefer he showed us more and told us less because the book plods for the first half. After that, it takes off and steps out lively.

Not only has Barnes invented a world, but he’s invented a language. It uses a lot of words that are sort of English, but not really. We’re supposed to figure out what they mean by context and mostly, I did. Eventually. It would have been easier if he had included a short glossary or footnoted the words or … just used English. I don’t think the unfamiliarity of the language added anything but confusion.

That being said, I enjoyed the book. It dragged in the beginning, but the end was fast with plenty of action. Predictable? I didn’t think it was all that predictable … no more than any other book of this type I’ve read. It has a lot of potential as a series and I’ll be interested to see where Barnes takes it.
Entertaining sf action for ya male readers Dec 4 2013
By Bookworm Dreams - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Our solar system in the future envisioned by John Barnes is a weird place. Four planets, two giant space stations, dozens of moons around the gas giants and hundreds of asteroids are inhabited by hundreds of different species of genetically engineered humans. Everything seems so different and alien. Even the language is full of slang and the meaning of these words is not explained. How soon you will get engrossed in The Duke of Uranium, depends on how quickly you can accept new situations and adapt to new vocabulary. For me it took some time until I completely understood what some phrases used in everyday speech meant.

The Duke of Uranium starts as all coming of age novels. Jak Jinnaka just finished high school and is wondering what next… But the story very soon stops following the usual plotline because ka-boom Jak’s girlfriend is kidnapped and he is in the middle of the interplanetary conspiracy. It’s never boring with a lot of chasing and fighting and unexpected attacks. The plot is similar to old James Bond movies. There is even a requisite number of sexy female characters on the way who are seduced by Jak’s charm.

I think I would have enjoyed this book more if I was a boy, this way some situation made me read with a sarcastic eyebrow raised. For example, a girl who get her shirt torn away and then loses her skirt in escape so she is running in only her panties and high heels. Yeah right. :/

Another thing that might or might not work for you is the amount of information we get about the world. Some customs that are fundamental in society and culture are not explained because Jak as narrator assumes we are already familiar with them. Some other terms, new and interesting to him, get descriptions a couple of pages long. It definitely adds up to the realism of the narration, but can be sometimes frustrating when you have to guess what something is.

IN THE END…
Lovers of young adult thrillers with male lead character should definitely take a closer look at Jak Jinnaka‘s series. Instead of action adventures by Clive Cussler or Ian Fleming, John Barnes offers them hero of their age in similar situation and it’s all set in a futuristic, exciting setting.

Disclaimer: I was given a free eBook by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.
Weird pulp. April 2 2012
By Dr. Mark W. Brehob - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Corny. Zany. Completely Unbelievable. Wonderful Science Fiction (though heavy on the fiction). Enjoyable to read. This book is all of these things. While I enjoyed reading it, at the end it became so unbelievable it lost me. It feels like he Barnes lost a bet and had to write a bit of science fiction with every trope ever created stuck in somewhere. Hard to rank low because it made me think and was largely fun to read. Hard to rank highly because the plot made nearly no sense and neither did the characters. The _world_ seemed odd, but fairly consistent and perhaps even realistic in its own way.


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