• Empire Builders

  • By: Ben Bova
  • Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki
  • Length: 11 hrs and 51 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (504 ratings)

Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks, and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Plus plan is $7.95 a month after 30 day trial. Upgrade or cancel anytime.
Empire Builders  By  cover art

Empire Builders

By: Ben Bova
Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki
Try for $0.00

$7.95 a month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $23.07

Buy for $23.07

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Dan Randolph never plays by the rules. A hell-raising maverick with no patience for fools, he is admired by his friends, feared by his enemies, and desired by the world's loveliest women. Acting as a 21st privateer, Randolph broke the political strangle-hold on space exploration, and became one of the world's richest men in the bargain.

Now an ecological crisis threatens Earth—and the same politicians that Randolph outwitted the first time want to impose a world dictatorship to deal with it.

Dan Randolph knows that the answer lies in more human freedom, not less—and in the boundless resources of space. But can he stay free long enough to give the world that chance?

©1993 Ben Bova (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"I believe that by far the science fiction author who will have the greatest effect on the science fiction world, and the world as a whole, is Ben Bova." (Ray Bradbury)
“Solid action-adventure/politicking/consciousness-raising from a veteran pro.” ( Kirkus Reviews)
"A rollicking good read!" ( Starlog)

What listeners say about Empire Builders

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    287
  • 4 Stars
    138
  • 3 Stars
    60
  • 2 Stars
    13
  • 1 Stars
    6
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    313
  • 4 Stars
    89
  • 3 Stars
    19
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    232
  • 4 Stars
    123
  • 3 Stars
    50
  • 2 Stars
    19
  • 1 Stars
    5

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

And excellent book and hard to stop listen to

This is the second book about Dan Randolph even if it was writte well before Powersat.

The earth is heading towards a greenhouse cliff, a sudden climate change that will destroy much of the planet in ten years if something isn't done soon. The ice caps will melt. Cities will be flooded. Millions will die. When Randolph tries to let people know what's going on and try to help orchestrate a plan to avoid this catastrophe, government officials from the Global Economic Council (the GEC) confiscate his company, imprison him, and silence his scientific team.

The story continues and as usual it quite good and i find the book hard to put down, or stop listen to if you, like me listen to the audio book.

Stefan Rudnicki does an very excellent job adjusting his voice to each of the characters so you get a god idea of who speach. Speech tags become redundant. He captures a variety of accents well, and the voices match the personalities. He tries hard to get the Japanese right, but it doesn't roll off his tongue well.

Its even a bit scary to think that this book was written back in 1993 and quite well talks about some of the problems we have been facing today. The tsunamis in Indonesia and the flooding of New Orleans.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Another keeper from Ben Bova

Would you listen to Empire Builders again? Why?

Yes, I would listens again, I enjoyed this book

What other book might you compare Empire Builders to and why?

I think I could compare this title to the Orion series, there is a lot of space travel and exploration in both

What about Stefan Rudnicki’s performance did you like?

I like Stefan Rudnicki, he is a very good narrator for truck drivers because he keeps his voice at a fairly constant volume, which is nice because I don't have to keep fooling with the volume control while I'm driving

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No, I'm generally not an emotional person

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Ben Bova (Chicken Little)

THis "enviromentality" really shows in this one. A little naïve and over steps the climate change logic here. But it does set the stage for his grand tour. Listen only for background information after listening to Powersat and continue on with the Grand Tour books. Stefan Rudnicki preforms this and does it very well.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent

Stephan Rudnicki is one of my favorite narrators, and he did his usual excellent narration here. Easy to listen to, easy to distinguish different characters, just the right amount of tension. The story itself drags a bit at times; too many meetings! I did enjoy how Dan managed to get out if situations that did not seem to be survivable so many times! An interesting story, with a definite environmental theme.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

I loved it!

I just got so wound up in Dan's situations I couldn't stop listening. Stefan Rudnicki did his usual job of using different voices with each character.....outstanding!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Ridiculous and totally unrealistic premise

I only made it an hour into the book and gave up. Perhaps that's not a fair representation, but the premise and setup of the plot was totally unrealistic, with larger than life characters plotting against other larger than life characters.

Although most of this "Grand Tour" series is free in my audible plus library, I’ve lost interest, at least for now. The books in this "series" are all stand-alone, although some of the key characters from Powersat are also key characters in this book. I may give another book from this series a chance somewhere down the road, but this one really put me off.

As always, Stefan Rudnicki is excellent in his narration.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

This is garbage

Too much PC crap to even continue with this series. Some of the dumbest climate change scenario's ever postulated. The first book in the series was better so I thought i would try another, but I can't take any more of this.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Global Climate Change

For a one time read this is a good book, but I was a little bored in the beginning. There isn't a ton of action, and some of the topics surrounding economy and management were not very interesting to me. However, I did like the main character and I really like how conclusion wrapped everything up. This book should be praised for its attempt to explore climate change, and the effects of organized crime and a global government in a futuristic Earth where civilization has expanded to the moon. The story also takes a look at government cover ups and the effectiveness of private run corporations verses government. If you are strongly politically motivated you may love or hate this story.

A bit about the story. Ben Bova creates a futuristic society where Earth has expanded to the moon and now mines space. The main character, Dan Randolph, is a wealthy business man who is one of top seven privately owned companies that run trade. His business is regulated by the Global Economic Council (GEC) who are not big fans of Dan Randolph. Some of the GEC leadership is looking to consolidate the world under one power and eliminate private run corporations that operate in space. This leads to some financial and legal trouble for Dan and a quick downward spiral when the GEC goes after him. As a protagonist Dan Randolph is easy to follow because he wants to do the right thing and seems to care more about others more than money despite being one of the wealthiest businessmen in the world.

I have been critical of some Stephen Rudnicki's performances in the past, but in this book he was a good fit. So, I definitely got my money out of this one (5 dollar bin). This is my second Ben Bova read. I am currently enjoying his Orion series. Ben Bova is a well established writer so it is hard to go wrong trying this one out.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Too political-too many characters

I usually love Ben Bova's writing but.... This book might be better read with ones eyes rather than ones ears. There were more characters in the first 3 chapters than I could keep track of. And it was very involved with many political, environmental and financial plots. I love Rudnicki's narration and here he excelled, but not enough to make up for the embroiled story.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Technology has badly aged

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I think what I can say is that Bova sees to lack some imagination. This was already evident in Powersat (a book he wrote more than a decade later). The idea of a watch sized wrist computer is very.... 1980s?

If you’ve listened to books by Ben Bova before, how does this one compare?

This was my second book (see Powersat) and I pretty much have the same complaint, that at the end of the day Bova doesn't seem to be very imaginative. A lot of the technology in the books comes across as horribly antiquated.

What about Stefan Rudnicki’s performance did you like?

I think he captured the personalities of the characters well, it definitely helped me create the images in my mind.

Could you see Empire Builders being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

I could see it as a SyFy movie of the week.

Any additional comments?

Yeah, I had planned to read / listen to all of the "Grand Tour", the concept sounded interesting. After two books though I have decided not to continue, the lack of technological "dreaming" is just way too distracting for me.

1 person found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Just
  • Just
  • 05-05-20

Empire Building

Strong, solid Ben Bova, though not ground breaking. A great performance by Stefan Rudnicki, yet the story takes a while to really get underway. Once it does, Empire Builders is very good, however the first half is a little tedious.
Overall, very good.

2 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tom
  • Tom
  • 09-22-22

Unfortunate Aussie accent

Like most of Ben Bova, I enjoyed the book. I like Stefan's narration generally but his Australian accent is the worst I've ever heard 😀 . I realise it must never a hard one, since most actors don't seem to be able to get it right (Meryl Streep being a notable exception) but Stefan's rendition is like a mixture of Irish, South African Afrikana and Cockney. Don't let this put you off. If you aren't an Aussie, you probably won't notice and if you are, just don't let it spoil a good yarn for you.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Elizabeth Lombardo
  • Elizabeth Lombardo
  • 12-05-21

Very good but retcon characters

A solid story but I couldn’t help but pulled out of the story whenever Dan, Jane and Morgan’s relationships popped up. I just don’t understand why Mr. Bova retconned these relationships or personalities as it does actually add to the story over all.