• Centers of Gravity

  • Frontlines, Book 8
  • By: Marko Kloos
  • Narrated by: Eric G. Dove
  • Length: 9 hrs and 47 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (735 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Stranded light-years from home, Major Andrew Grayson and his crew are on a desperate mission to discover the Lankies’ secrets. They can’t let what they’ve found die with them.

Nine hundred light-years from home, Major Andrew Grayson and the crew of NACS Washington are marooned in a sunless system with limited water, reactor fuel, and food. The last hope for survival is to go where nothing human has gone before.

After embarking on a scouting mission to the only moon with surface signs of life, Andrew and his Special Tactics Team make two startling discoveries. One is a dream: a form of protein and plant life that could save the starving humans in the rogue system. The second is a nightmare: this harvested rock is infested with Lankies. Far from the seemingly mindless aggressors Andrew has battled for years, these show a terrifying awareness, and they have surprising secrets of their own hidden away in the darkness.

When the Lankies sense an uninvited presence in their world, Andrew’s operation becomes an expedition to hell. The odds against his small crew are stacked high. Of all the mysteries of space, how to escape with their lives is the greatest unknown of all.

©2022 Marko Kloos (P)2022 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What listeners say about Centers of Gravity

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    3 out of 5 stars

A term paper needed to graduate; Final Grade = B-

The United States Airforce figured "we need recruits to join and want to purse careers as 'combat controllers';" So, they hired this German guy living in New Hampshire or Vermont or somewhere in the New England area to write the story...but somewhere along the way the checks stopped coming, the author lost interest and CV-19 drove him mad.

So after a long delay the short final chapter has arrived and it's like a term paper a student has to turn in in order to graduate. It's a solid technical effort but it's nothing spectacular. It's competent but un-inspired. If he wasn't thinking about graduate school or a new job or whatever but was passionate, it could have been so much more.

The first third of the book started off extremely well. It was almost like it was part of the previous novel and probably was. The "mystery" of the Lankies was being revealed, a rogue Jovian world, interesting moons, a GREEN world exploration but then...BANG; hero hurt, and then the trope breakdown of mediocrity begins.

We get tons of pointless exposition, like "hey we discovered some 'stealth' paste. It would be a real shame if militaries began thinking wars were winnable again." WTF? Scientist exit stage left, A long multi-chapter space battle, then broken ship, then long tedious ground battle; then, time dilatation then, "the end." 6 weeks? More like 3 years. OH! Please. Space-Time, It's relative. What's the point? Who are the Lankies? What are the Lankies? Who are the monsters that ate them? Are they sentient? Are they Van Newman probes? Why not take the Alcubierre drive off the broken ship? Oh, I know they blew up the rear.

Where's wifey? Boring. I didn't read the story for "the marriage." It's was a nice addition like cinnamon on oatmeal but it's not "the meal." Ultimately this series was like an 8 course dinner with a 2 ounce steak as the main course.

This book is mostly pointless filler.

It's over but nothing is really explained as that would have taken creativity, passion and interest. So, what started off as a good promising story with a great science fiction mystery ended up as a dumb action drama, cue the credits and Rihanna-isk rap song. Toss-off Rubes.

P.S. Netflix will make it both woke & dumber (e.g. The Witcher) but as I walked away from that satanic globalist toxic service years ago, it doesn't matter much to me.

7 people found this helpful

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Lots of loose threads

I was really looking forward to this book, but was ultimately disappointed. I was expecting the plot to advance, background about the lankies, maybe a few fights, and ultimately a satisfying conclusion to the series. I felt like the book had a good start, but then went with a sudden deus ex machina ending. Its like Marko Kloos wrote himself into a corner and didn’t have a way out, and decided to bring elements out of nowhere to solve it. I don’t want to write any spoilers, but his solution fits in one chapter. There are so many unanswered elements, that I felt it was unsatisfying.

6 people found this helpful

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disappointing for the final book

did you run out of time or something??? It started out well but after the transition back it's like you just gave up. I waited so long to have closure on everything. All i got was disappointed. Last book i will read from you Marko

5 people found this helpful

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You had 2-years to schedule Luke Daniels!

They changed the narrator on book 8. It’s not terrible, but it’s not Luke Daniels. This is one of my favorite series and it’s such a disappointment to not hear the characters as we have come to know them.

5 people found this helpful

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That’s it?

Absolutely horrible ending to a series. Just ends. No resolution to the military part of this military sci-fi. Disappointing end to a good series.

3 people found this helpful

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Too many unanswered questions...

First and foremost the narrator wasn't good compared to Luke Daniels. The one thing I didn't like about this series is you never knew anything about the enemy, what motivates them no backstory whatsoever. They found what I presume to be the Lanky home world and no intel was gleaned with the exception of some fungus. The ending of course answered no questions about the outcome of the war or what Andrews future holds. This book was a extreme let down if its the last in this series .

3 people found this helpful

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Not what I had hoped

I have been a huge fan of this series from the start but I felt like this ending left alot to be desired. It felt like Marko was just done with the series and wanted to tie it up, I had such high hopes for this book and Marko is a great writer but it just feels like a bit of a let down. maybe there will be a another story line in the same universe and that wouldn't be to bad.

3 people found this helpful

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I give up

I want Luke back.. not even gonna Finnish this book ima get a refund RIP FRONTLINES 😪 😔

3 people found this helpful

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Epically Unoriginal

Nothing but a phoned in space cowboy shoot-em-up. The narrator did the best he could with a story that should have gone in the trash. If you removed all the babbling and filler you could tell this story before the elevator arrives. Skip at all costs.

2 people found this helpful

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Very disappointing entry to a great series

These past two books have really just been phoned in. What happened to the clever storytelling? This book was basically a plot that anyone could think up in 5 mins. It introduced nothing of value to the universe. Honestly this entire story could have been a few chapters leading up to a much better plot line. Instead it was dragged out and mostly consisted of the main character babbling to himself.
I was really excited to see a new entry in the series and this fell flat.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Morten O.
  • 09-14-22

This is not worth it

The story is a good idea
The way it was written was just so over explained and the performance was read like a science book with no emotion

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  • Robert
  • 09-05-22

The End?

Well,

I cried.

I’ve no idea if this is the last book in the series, and I’m sure that if it is, many fans will be deeply disappointed - but I’m sure that others will find it to be an excellent novel.

The main character is once again cast into the unknown and brought back again (I really don’t think that’s a spoiler) after having given up even more of himself, and to discover a world unrecognisable to him, with only a few points of his old life with which to bond with.

We as readers are left as blind as he is - maybe a little less - to the motivations, technology and overall shape of the interstellar war which has driven humanity to the brink of extinction. He has once again made and broken solid bonds with scientists and military personnel on his deployment who he will likely never see again.

I used to feel that was a point of criticism - the lack of plot progression and the continuous shifting of characters. I suspect that many will agree with this point of view, particularly as the character has no reason to continue with military service as of the end of this novel, except perhaps in an academic or flag officer role which seem to be unlikely stories for Andrew Grayson, particularly given how they would separate him from the long term characters in the series.

But then, this series is a decade old, and perhaps the character has aged as much as the author, certainly, as a reader I have done so.

As a story of a conventional military career - where in the end your life changes completely and yet not at all, and where despite your being present as the very first molecules on the tip of the spear, your role in shaping humanities future is not acknowledged - this would be a superb novel and series.

But I hope this goes on, I hope somehow that Admiral Grayson has a role to play in the final defeat of the First Lanky War. Simply because *he* deserves that acknowledgment as a character.

And he deserves more of a reward than he’s been given on camera, despite the immense off-camera value Phoebe no doubt provides to him.

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  • Norma Miles
  • 09-02-22

"The Galaxy's cockroaches."

One of the earliest Audible book I read was Marko Kloos's first Frontlines book, Rules of Enlistment, narrated by the excellent Luke Daniels. I instantly became an avid fan, travelling with Andrew Grayson from his escape from the ghettos into the armed forces, through military training and the first, and later, confrontations with the Lankies.
Now the narrator has changed to Eric G. Dove, who also read the previous book, and who has the same ability to transform my room into hostile battlegrounds. Not quite the same Grayson, but almost, he also gets inside the personality of the, now Major, soldier with his hopes, fears and life as he once again battles the near impossible.
Splendid storyline, with terrifying battle action, perfectly paced and with just the right amount of fight versus living, and not too heavy on the technical. This series has always been the measure against which I text all of the military science fiction which I now read.

This has been a really fine, ongoing series, though this could be the last, with visual descriptions which are not forced, or repetitious in any way, an excellent main character who relates in the first person so revealing inner thought as well as outer action, and a fine cast of other protagonists including the terrifying alien ememy, all narrated with skill and involvement.
If you enjoy science fiction, especially military or to follow an individual through life, love (but not a romance, let se) terror and groeth, this could just be the series for you.

The eighth in the Frontlines series and every one (with a slight downturn for volume seven) superb.
Highly recommended. Could be read as a stand alone but better to read the whole series in order.

Did I mention that I loved it.

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  • Brendan
  • 09-16-22

disappointing

so so many inconsistencies, "...Mars itself blew that to hell with 25 million killed" ... "7 years and 100,000 deaths later".

ok is the last book and i still haven't introduce the lankies home work. let's us the unkown tech story line, then let's duplicate a series of highly improbable results. the book felt lazy and incomplete.

Then, let's abandon ship. ok the atmosphere is toxic, ok let's ignore that. we'll beat the lankies, um it's not like they can nerve gas everyone again...oh wait.

The ship still has power, an atmosphere, an engine oh with external weapons, that can kill lankies at range, but no the planet is a better option.

just disappointing, oh and bring back Luke Daniels

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  • Jesse James
  • 09-04-22

Brilliant

I loved this book, practically binged it. Sadly, it seems to be the end of this little series. I will miss it. Maybe we can return to this universe later with a different character. Or the next generation.

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