• The Ninth Metal

  • The Comet Cycle, Book 1
  • By: Benjamin Percy
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 10 hrs and 15 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (115 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

“[In THE NINTH METAL] debris from a comet drops a fabulously valuable new metal on Northfall, MN., turning it into a bloody, brawling boomtown. Great characters, fine writing, totally engrossing.”
—Stephen King

“Take one part dystopia, one part sci-fi, two parts apocalypse, then ride them roughshod through a bleak and bloody western, and it still wouldn't get close to what Ben Percy does here, which is blow open the core of humanity's dark heart.”
—Marlon James, Booker Prize award-winning author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf

“Whether you choose to think of him as the Elmore Leonard of rural Minnesota or the Stephen King of Science Fiction, Ben Percy—with his extraordinary and unrelenting eye—dishes up humanity like some kind of otherworldly blue plate special, at once deeply familiar and wildly new.”
—Margaret Stohl, #1 New York Times best-selling author of the Caster Chronicles

“When Benjamin Percy publishes a novel, I have got to read that novel. The Ninth Metal continues his streak of thrilling, incisive genre bending goodness. It’s a sci-fi novel, a crime novel and a super-hero novel, too. Audacious and intelligent and exactly what I was dying to read.”
—Victor LaValle, author of The Changeling

IT BEGAN WITH A COMET…

At first, people gazed in wonder at the radiant tear in the sky. A year later, the celestial marvel became a planetary crisis when Earth spun through the comet’s debris field and the sky rained fire.

The town of Northfall, Minnesota, will never be the same. Meteors cratered hardwood forests and annihilated homes, and among the wreckage a new metal was discovered. This “omnimetal” has properties that make it world-changing as an energy source…and a weapon.

John Frontier—the troubled scion of an iron-ore dynasty in Northfall—returns for his sister’s wedding to find his family embroiled in a cutthroat war to control mineral rights and mining operations. His father rightly suspects foreign leaders and competing corporations of sabotage, but the greatest threat to his legacy might be the US government. Physicist Victoria Lennon was recruited by the Department of Defense to research omnimetal, but she finds herself trapped in a laboratory of nightmares. And across town, a rookie cop is investigating a murder that puts her own life in the crosshairs. She will have to compromise her moral code to bring justice to this now lawless community.

In this gut-punch of a novel, the first in his Comet Cycle, Ben Percy lays bare how a modern-day goldrush has turned the middle of nowhere into the center of everything, and how one family—the Frontiers—hopes to control it all.

©2021 by Benjamin Percy and Joseph (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Ninth Metal

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  • Overall
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Everyone Will Enjoy This Except My Mother

THE NINTH METAL is a fascinating imagining of what could happen if a comet leaves a new metal that transforms north central Minnesota. As a native Minnesotan, I was impressed with Benjamin Percy’s description of north central Minnesota and its people, as well as by human nature and its reaction to the possibility of wealth. Percy has obviously studied the history of the gold rush and other booms, as well as religious groups and cults. And yes, his affinity for the Marvel Universe and superheroes is evident as well. As a retired English teacher, I give this author high marks for a successful combination of several genres, for creating complex characters, for knowing how to use suspense and conflict effectively, and for writing a novel that appeals to everyone except people like my 82-year-old mother, people offended by even appropriately used profanity and violence. I can’t wait for the sequel—and I hope Percy requires HBO or Netflix to create a series instead of cramming everything into a movie.

5 people found this helpful

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Character in Someone’s Else’s Story

Great new author for me introduced by a favorite narrator,Ms Whelan. I have been searching out heaps of her reads and this is a total winner. Small mid western town story of greedy opportunity. The government’s part is appalling but the exodus is the saving journey. All the characters were full of personality and of course ms Whelan brings them to blooming life. I love the Yesno character scenes.
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2 people found this helpful

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Surprisingly Ugly

The last experiences I expected from this were such well-done explorations into the depths of evil. <shrug> If vividly described vileness is part of your idea of a good listening time, then you are in the right place. For me, the daily news is already more than enough exposure to the depths of suffering and deliberate evil.

2 people found this helpful

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Riveting

Loved that this takes place in Minnesota. Characters and storyline are wonderful. Narrator is voice in my reading head.

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What a great surprise!

I got this audio mainly for the love of Julia Whelan but stayed because of the story. It's a unique story well written with a delightful bit of sci-fi. Very cool.

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just OK

nothing special, stuck with it till the end hoping it would get better, it did not. not a total waste of a credit, but close.

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better than expected

I gave this a try on a lark. Mostly because I was looking for a multi-book sci-fi series to dive into. Sadly the series doesn't deliver (see my review for The Unfamiliar Garden) but the first book is solid. It's well paced and gives you characters to love and characters to hate. I wish the series continued with the same characters but it seems each book follows a different story within the same premise. The great narration helps a lot.

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Teen fare

The writing is mostly middle grade quality. Completely ridiculous and unbelievable ‘science’. Whelan’s performance was mostly distracting and dreadful.