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Publisher's Summary

On the planet of Per Ardua, alien artifacts were discovered - hatches that allowed humans to step across light-years of space as if they were stepping into another room. But this newfound freedom has consequences. As humanity discovers the real nature of the universe, a terrifying truth comes to light: We all have countless pasts converging in this present - and our future is terrifyingly finite. There are minds in the universe that are billions of years old, and now we are vulnerable to their plans for us. It's time to fight back and take control.

©2014 Stephen Baxter (P)2015 Tantor

What listeners say about Ultima

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Book 2 delivers the goods.

Uri Eden, the main protagonist from Book 1, has just barely made it through the hatch with Steph Kalinsky and the Col-U. As their brains wrap around the idea that in this version the Roman Empire didn't fall and became space faring, Uri begins to succumb to what he calls Freezer Burn. Apparently when you've been subjected to Cryo sleep for a large portion of your life cancers run amok when you are thawed.
Back in the Sol system Penny Kalinski, Lex Macgregor, and Beth Eden Jones Narrowly escape distaster in a Hulk-kernel ship test platform as the Chinese Hedgemony crash a bundle of kernel ships moving at near relativistic speed into Mercury. The result propels them to the Roman-Bricante-Sheen Universe without the use of a hatch. One other person is with them...Earthshine. One of the three deep core artificial intelligences. He has an agenda.
There is yet two more Universes visited in this book but I will leave those for you to discover. The story is gripping and in this form excellently told through the vocal ranges of the narrator. It did not disappoint and I'm giving it four out of five entertainment points.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Overall Badness

The first of these two...hopefully, there won't be a third...was sort of ok. Novel plot, fair characterizations, not badly written. Not bad. Certainly not great. This 2nd in the series, is awful. I hate novels with politically correct agendas. This one, starts out a bit more subtly than some others I could (and have) named, where it tries to link up with the first book. But as its version of a plot unfolds, it simply starts to reek of it. Worse, the plot becomes thinner as it goes on. It seems like the author tacks on a piece from one place, then another from somewhere else, and desparately tries to glue them together. What gain there is in an approximation of cohesion, is lost in failed coherence. Novelty and imagination, give way to a mismatched rehash of what came before. Then, after dragging that on long enough to qualify this junk as a novel, he tries to finish it off with some kind of big war scene, like in an old Rambo movie, And then the author adds
a new MAIN THREAT/VILLIAN nearly right at the very end, although supposedly the threat was there all the time (just undiscovered?) in both books. That antagonist is as near a deus ex machina as I've seen any published sci fi author dare to use in years. Obviously, the author wants more than two books out of this series, which barely merits one. To say that the narrator is just what this book merits, sums up my opinion.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Steam punk Romans in space, cut it out

In my review of Proxima, I said maybe wait til I finish Ultima for a final verdict on both since Proxima left soooo many unanswered questions. I am extremely sorry to report that I could not finish Ultima, the ridiculous factor was so freaking off the charts by three hours of the book I said to myself. this is just insulting and turned it off. sometimes when I shut a book off I have intentions on getting back to it and give the story in question a fair shake. Not this one, when I shut it off there was no semblance of "maybe it can be saved". In my opinion definitely not worth the credit.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointed

Overall I am very disappointed in this story I feel it had no purpose and no depth with a rinse and repeat plot line. Overall the plot had an air of hopelessness and no real direction.

1 person found this helpful

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Interesting... not as good as the first book

Even though it is about ancient Romans and Incas, the general concept goes beyond the absurdity of them being in space. In the end, although the are some loose ends, the author brings it all together.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

..maybe skip part 2 for the next mini-series?

First off: I like many of S. Baxter's books and really hope there's much more to come.
However, to me it seems to be a theme with him that the first book quite brilliantly narrates a story often with a unique theme - only to be followed up by a *much* weaker sequel.

Ultima is one of these sequels (much like Flood - Ark, Time's Eye - Sunstorm, ..) that is way less intriguing than the original book of the mini-series. I'd much rather have him write *1* brilliant book ("The Light of Other Days"!) - and just stop there.. instead of diluting the overall impression with a much weaker sequel.

Just my 2 cents, though - hope you'll enjoy your Baxter lecture!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

End of the world

Not sure killing off all the main characters in order to conclude the story was an original concept.
The universe ending at a natural wall or boundary is the basis for this story, this is not supported by physics published in the 21st century, therefore it delves into fantasy.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

What a journey

This is a great book. i was on the edge of my seat the entire time. i can't wait until the next one!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Long Winded

This is hard to finish, the narrator does a good job running the gamut of accents but the writing is too long in the tooth. The second act is too similar to the first one, lost interest when characters from the first book get old and die. ( the storey feels that long ) Lost me at the Incas....

1 person found this helpful

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

Lots of very interesting theories.

Overall, it was entertaining enough for me listen to both books in the series. I would say it was a very ambitious undertaking by the author. Maybe a little to ambitious? I would have given it a better review if not for the storyline being very difficult to follow at times.