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Empire of Silence  By  cover art

Empire of Silence

By: Christopher Ruocchio
Narrated by: Samuel Roukin
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Publisher's Summary

Hadrian Marlowe, a man revered as a hero and despised as a murderer, chronicles his tale in the galaxy-spanning debut of the Sun Eater series, merging the best of space opera and epic fantasy. 

It was not his war. On the wrong planet, at the right time, for the best reasons, Hadrian Marlowe started down a path that could only end in fire. 

The galaxy remembers him as a hero: the man who burned every last alien Cielcin from the sky. They remember him as a monster: the devil who destroyed a sun, casually annihilating four billion human lives - even the emperor himself - against Imperial orders. 

But Hadrian was not a hero. He was not a monster. He was not even a soldier. Fleeing his father and a future as a torturer, Hadrian finds himself stranded on a strange, backwater world. 

Forced to fight as a gladiator and into the intrigues of a foreign planetary court, he will find himself fighting a war he did not start, for an empire he does not love, against an enemy he will never understand.

©2018 Christopher Ruocchio (P)2018 Recorded Books

What listeners say about Empire of Silence

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    1 out of 5 stars
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A Slow start at best....then the story tapers off

Having read some of the higher ratings I took a chance on this book. The narrator is very good, but the story is mired in meandering wordsmith that delivers no real drama but just drones on and on. There were several instances were the story could have built interesting story lines only to fall back on the protagonist's internal reflections that were so predictable they border on ad nauseam. That this has almost a 4.5 rating makes me wonder who is writing and rating these stories. If you are looking for and outstanding read, try the Red sister or Mist Born series....they have all of the characteristics of a good read. Hope somebody reads this. Cheers....

25 people found this helpful

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Intelligent Sci-fi

Ruocchio's impressive debut novel is richly rendered, sociopolitically complex, and immersive. An intelligent work of science fiction, Empire of Silence will also appeal to fantasy fans and some history fans thanks to its inclusion of fantasy conventions and historical technology and references, such as castles, swordplay, and Greco-Roman cultural influences. In Empire of Silence, Ruocchio built a psychologically layered hero (anti-hero?) by means of a skillfully woven plot that drew me into the colorful worlds of Hadrian's far-future Milky Way galaxy and left me desperate for the next book in the series.

11 people found this helpful

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Slow start, picks up the pace

Although the book starts slowly it picks up speed by the second half and really draws you into an established world. I'd recommend this to fans of Red Rising, Dune, and Old Man's War.

9 people found this helpful

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Heavy investment

I see some reviewers are saying the story is very slow. Yes, it is, and I fully understand why a reader might bail on it. The MC has a lot of introspection, with internal debates on ethics and philosophy. That slows down even scenes which ought to be intense.

But I couldn't look away, just like you can't look away from car crash. The author devotes a lot of effort towards world-building and the world is horrible indeed. The Empire that surrounds our MC is the love child of the Spanish Inquisition, 1984, and pre-Revolution France. Our MC is a soft-hearted young man in a hard universe and he is helpless, lost, confused, and weak. His efforts to control his fate are mostly ineffectual and it's frustrating to watch; but it's also hard to imagine how he could have done better, given the forces stacked against him. Although it takes what seems like forever, he gradually becomes less helpless, but still far from hero material.

A major aspect of the story is that the author instills immense amounts of foreshadowing on almost every page, to the point where it's a bit wearisome. We know that our MC eventually precipitates great events, both good and bad, and it's hard to avoid being curious as to how he becomes that sort of person. That will probably keep me listening.

8 people found this helpful

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From Slow Start to Can't Stop

Are you a fan of Sanderson's Worlds of Radiance or Rothfuss Kingkiller Chronicles? Because if you are, Empire of Silence will probably be right up your ally. But it's not just The Name of the Wind in space, though it does share a number of themes with that book. Chris Ruocchio does an excellent job slowly bringing his universe to life through tantalizing snippets of world-building and foreshadowing. I'm extremely excited for the next book to come out, though it seems we'll have to wait until mid 2019 for that to come.

Word of warning, though. Others have mentioned it, but the book is slow to start, and a bit confusing. You get dropped right into a world of unfamiliar terms without any helpful guidance on what they mean. Ruocchio excels at giving context, but he doesn't spoon feed you. Give the book at least a couple hours to come into its own and you'll be glad you did.

8 people found this helpful

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boring

Steady mention of having pale white skin and being upper class. Steady diet of what would my father think.

6 people found this helpful

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Epic Space Opera... Instant classic

A lot of what i've read in reviews compares this book, fairly or unfairly, to Dune. A small homage, sure, but I may have not made that connection to Dune if others had not pointed it out. I mean it's a HUGE book, a HUGE world/Universe, but this book is its own and in my opinion, an instant classic. That's the real comparison between the 2, Classic... That said, for me, the original Dune is slow and drawn out... I know that makes me unpopular. I enjoyed it and recommend people read it but wont read it a second time. I would read/listen to Empire of Silence a second time. The slow points of the book are needed and not just filler, the pacing is current and keeps you engaged wanting to know more about the Sun Eater universe and it's characters.

The world/universe building and character building is FANTASTIC! You really care about Hadrian in spite of knowing from the book blurb the atrocities to come. This book is emotional and touches lightly but with intent on politics (new and old). It's frustrating at times, even to the point of making you angry. You cheer and route and during my commute more than once I fist pumped in the air with joy. It draws you in, brings you up and down and side to side with it.

Final thoughts:
1) I tried to do this review in a way that it doesn't give spoilers so sorry for the broad strokes!
2) This is my first time listening to the narrator Samuel Roukin and really enjoyed his narration. It always takes a bit to get used to a knew voice, but shortly after starting you settle in and just enjoy the ride. He does an excellent job and i'll definitely listen to him again.
3) It's a great book, cant wait for book 2... and If you read this and haven't listened to or read book 1... then you are seriously missing out... get it in the queue or get it in the cart and enjoy!

5 people found this helpful

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Great premise & worldbuilding but still lacking...

There's no doubt that Christopher Rucchio is an incredibly talented writer, who the SSF community should keep an eye on. There are many praiseworthy aspects of Ruoccio's writing. The level of detail he puts into establishing the galactic spanning world settings in EiS is quite immersive. His skill with prose is solid proof of his talent in writing (even if his tendency to over use metaphors may seem a bit forceful and overly grandiose at times, it makes sense since the narrator/main character of the novel was purposefully written be a bit overly dramatic). The fact Empire of Silence is Christopher Rucchio's first major public work is quite admirable.

That being said, EiS is by far not a perfect book. It suffers from an overly bogged down story-line that seems to unnecessarily meander and digress at times that does not really further the plot. Another issue with EiS is the author's decision tell the story in memoir-like narration from the main character's perspective. While that by itself isn't unique, the problem lies with the narrator/main character's constant need to remind us readers of future events & actions of both himself and other characters. This takes all tension, intrigue, & mystery away.

The biggest issue by far is the uncompelling main character. Even though he as the narrator constantly reminds us readers (every other chapter) on how great and powerful he is/will later become, it is frustrating to witness him repeatedly makes the same mistakes (usually to further plot) again and again. While I'm aware that this is supposed to show the character's naivety and his eventual character growth...it did not seem like it from my perspective. At first from the start, I was very intrigued by the main character, he shared many modern values and principles that did not seem to fit with his current settings and the people around him. I wanted the author to delve further into how and why that was. 'What made him so different from the rest of his noble peers?' His desire for familial love despite growing up in an environment where the very concept was completely foreign. He had such strong hatred for religion and the cast system even though it placed him and his family on top...with little to no adequate explanation.
While all of this allows us readers to more easily relate to the main character (who shares so much of our modern sensibilities) it's still somewhat illogical that we readers never get a direct explanation for...other than that having to assume that he was born as a naturally upright individual (which personally doesn't satisfy me).
What we get as a main character instead, is a stubborn, petulant individual who constantly bemoans his powerlessness and sufferings without actively doing much to change that fact...and the few instances when he actually does something, it is usually not well-thought-out, naive, & short-sighted in action. I do believe this is due to Rucchio's purposeful writing and not poor character development, however that doesn't change the fact that the main character is an unlikable individual for us readers to follow. I can only hope to see a much more meaningful & PERMANENT character growth in the second installment of the Sun Eater series.

Overall, despite the books weaknesses, it was well written and had an excellent amount world-building to keep me hooked enough look forward to the sequel.

3 people found this helpful

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So good!

I greedily await the next books in this series. Please keep them coming. Thank you for spending the time to create this quality of work.

3 people found this helpful

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Truly amazing work - narrator and author alike!

There is nothing quite so satisfying as a brilliant narrator, reading a first person/past tense book. It feels somewhat like listening to an elder's tale of their past - we know the end product, but how they got there is the true soul of the person.

That feeling is doubly true, when that book is as incredible as this one.

Without doubt, the best book of the year, that I've had the pleasure of listening to! (and I listen to a lot!)

3 people found this helpful