• River of Blue Fire

  • Otherland Book 2
  • By: Tad Williams
  • Narrated by: George Newbern
  • Length: 24 hrs and 24 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (1,016 ratings)

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River of Blue Fire  By  cover art

River of Blue Fire

By: Tad Williams
Narrated by: George Newbern
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Publisher's Summary

Otherland. In many ways it is humankind's most stunning achievement: a private, multidimensional universe built over two generations by the greatest minds of the 21st century. But this most exclusive of places is also one of the world's best kept secrets, created and controlled by an organization made up of the world's most powerful and ruthless individuals, a private cartel known - to those who know of their existence at all - as The Grail Brotherhood. Though their purpose in creating Otherland is still a mystery, it may not remain so for long. For they have exacted a terrible price from humanity in the process, and even their highly organized global conspiracy cannot hide the nature of their crimes forever. And now a small band of adventurers has penetrated the veil of secrecy that prevents the uninitiated from entering Otherland.

But having broken into the amazing worlds within worlds that make up this universe, they are trapped, unable to escape back to their own flesh-and-blood bodies in the real world. And as dangers and circumstances split their party into small, widely scattered groups, their only hope of reuniting lies in returning again and again to the River that flows - in one form or another - through all the worlds. But the odds seem to be completely against them as they - and the one outsider with whom they might join forces - become hopelessly lost in realms where an Ice Age tribe's fears can only be quenched in blood - where insects are as large and deadly as dinosaurs - where they are caught in the war between a man made of straw and one made of tin - where cartoon ads take on a life of their own - where humans strive to survive in the aftermath of an alien invasion - and where one among their party is actually The Grail Brotherhood's most terrifying weapon - a sociopathic killer who has never failed and whose current mission is to make certain that not even one member of this little invasion force lives long enough to reveal the truth about Otherland to the people of Earth.

©1998 Tad Williams (P)2014 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about River of Blue Fire

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  • Overall
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Newborn and Williams, the perfect team!

Otherland is one of my all time favorite series, so I knew I'd adore the audio book. I did and that was mostly due to George Newbern's superb narration style. Download the entire series and get ready for an immersive adventure you'll want to re-visit time and time again!!

4 people found this helpful

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a hot mess

Interesting. I'm still thinking about it months later. But it could have used an editor to tighten it up.

3 people found this helpful

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The Saga Continues

This story is very well written. The character development is extensive and the story is complex. That being said, there are a lot of characters and the author gives them all the same amount of attention to detail. You feel as if you know what that character is really like.....until suddenly you don't know them because the story makes a surprise turn.
The story is multi-layered and jumps between characters and locations so this isn't a story you listen to while your attention is elsewhere. The way it jumps between the people and settings makes it very interesting but there have been times I've had to backtrack to figure out what was going on, but the book is worth it. I enjoy reading and listening to books that aren't simply linear from start to finish and this book is it. I just listened to book two again to prepare for book 3 and there were details I had missed the first time I heard it. Can't wait to start the next book-

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Great book! Slightly frustrating audiobook

So lemme start by saying the book is wonderful. I almost enjoyed it more than the first book just because having read the first one there were a lot of things I understood better about the world and technology and whatnot. My only issue with the audiobook is that the reader almost never pauses or provides a slight break before starting new sections or chapters. Since this book follows many different characters, not having that slight break before changing stories can be INCREDIBLY CONFUSING at times. Especially if your listening to this audiobook while doing other things.

1 person found this helpful

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Sailing on

This is the second Otherland book.

You need to have read or listened to the previous book in the series, City of Golden Shadow before starting this book, or you will not understand most of it.

Aside from that, it is difficult to know how to characterize this book. The characters who were gathered by the disruptive Sellars in City of Golden Shadow get separated again into three smaller groups, and each of these groups winds up transported into a different sim-world, where they have some dangerous but at the same time tedious adventures. We discover that the dangerous operative Dred (or Dread, or whatever his name is) has infiltrated one of the sims in Martine’s party, but it isn’t clear, even at the end, which one.

The Otherland network appears to be breaking down, even though it is still in the process of going live. The adventurers all get into some dangerous situations and uncover some confusing but possibly useful pieces of the puzzle. Renie and !Xabu are finally reunited with Martine’s group, but some of the members of their party appear to die at about the same time.

We also spend considerably more time with Paul Jonas in this book, traveling with him to the London of War of the Worlds, Renaissance Venice, and finally the Ithaca of The Odyssey, among other places.

In the end, things look serious for some of our characters, but we can’t tell how close they are to a resolution of anything. We still need to go on to the next book.

1 person found this helpful

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I Love this Series

So far I love this series. It's really interesting and well read. The characters are great and I can't wait to see how the whole thing ends. Very Fun.

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Awesome

Tad Williams has a great imagination 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
You have a bizarro version of the Lion, tin man and scarecow , we have layers and layers of twisted programming , men to baboon Girl to Boy, environment with transition to nightmare!!! Lions and tigers and bears , oh my😫

Take what you know in your life turn it upside down and then invert it !!!

Here’s a example:
None were complete in themselves, but although they were partial and ephemeral, they were also as individual as snowflakes. They seem far more than just a trick of programming each phantom, its moments of Quintessence , Seemed somehow undeniable real to me. I already find it difficult to distinguish between the realism of my companions and the realism of the networks simulated people, but these phenomena were even more complex. It’s such Richness can be engendered purely by mechanical means, even buy a system as magical capable as Otherland, then I have much to consider.

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If Chess was a Book

It is wild how much more I liked this book than the first of the series. While the first book took 90% to take its first step into otherland, this one spends the majority of our time there and things are always happening. It’s a constant moving of chess pieces, and it keeps you wanting to hear more of each string of the story. Ramses makes his first appearance and he’s great. Paul jonas who was the least interesting part of the first book is now a highly engaging character, and everyone’s story brings to light more and more what really is going on in Otherland.

Highly recommend if you read the first book and were not sure of going another 25 hours.

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George Newbern breathes life into SF favorite

I've always enjoyed Tad Williams' works. He is a thorough writer well-versed in historical literature. He understands the value of creating compelling characters at every level of the narrative, he is skilled in the art of world-building, and he has an innate ability to craft a story that portrays multiple layers of depth.

George Newbern's audio narration is SUPERB. I've been on an audio-book binge since the COVID-19 Pandemic began, and I have to say I have yet to encounter a narrator with his abilities. Each character sounds different, his accents are accurate (South African, French, English, Australian, American), and his ability to bring to life the disparate range of characters is first-class.

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Another amazing book

This was as good as the first installment. Such a great story. I can’t wait to listen to the rest