Sleeping Giants – Sylvain Neuvel

Sleeping Giants – Sylvain Neuvel (Themis Files #1)
Publisher – Penguin
Imprint – Michael Joseph
ISBN – 9780718181680
Pages – 320
Release date – April 7th 2016
Signed Copies – Goldsboro Books £20
Lowest pre-order price unsigned – Amazon / Waterstones £10.99
Reviewed by Paul Walsh @Paul_J_P_W
World War Z meets The Martian. This inventive first novel will please devoted fans of sci-fi as well as literary readers hoping a smart thriller will sneak up on them.

17 years ago: A girl in South Dakota falls through the earth, then wakes up dozens of feet below ground on the palm of what seems to be a giant metal hand. Today: She is a top-level physicist leading a team of people to understand exactly what that hand is, where it came from, and what it portends for humanity. A swift and spellbinding tale told almost exclusively through transcriptions of interviews conducted by a mysterious and unnamed character, this is a unique debut that describes a hunt for truth, power, and giant body parts.

This was a quick but really enjoyable read . It never felt anywhere near its 300+ page
Written in an epistolary style (like Dracula or the more recent The Three by Sarah Lotz),
mainly delivered in transcripts of interviews by a mystery secret service type individual of the other characters, a scientist, a pilot, a linguist , and others. It documents the finding of strange artifacts across the world starting with a young girl (who becomes the scientist) falling in a giant hole and being found on a giant metal hand.
She grows up and becomes part of the research on the hand through which she develops a method to start tracking down all the bits and pieces.
You would assume the girl is the main character but she isn’t. She is joined by a team which includes two pilots, a linguist, a geneticist (who is psychotic) and others.
However the main character is actually (Highlight to reveal)  the mysterious interviewer. You never learn his name or very much about him but I still found myself liking him (even when he causes some nasty things to happen . He’s pretty much a cliche’d man in black , always seeming to know more than anyone else and giving nothing away . Who he works for or what his agenda is never quite comes out at any point but overall he seems to be one of the good guys.
51pzrUIB4GL._AC_UL320_SR216,320_.jpgThe other characters and their relationships work very well with the good and bad of mixing intelligent people in confined space. There’s quite a bit of friction and a lot of trouble.
The storyline combines Science Fiction (Aliens and Robots) and Mythology with references to Greek gods and the Titans .
Overall it felt just a bit short for a full novel, but its well written and the author carries a difficult style very well.
It looks to be setting up a series and I’ll be very interested to see what follows.
Spoiler (Highlight to reveal.) – They Build a Giant Alien Robot from the pieces
QmCRGeia_400x400.jpegAbout the Author -Sylvain Neuvel dropped out of high school at age 15. Along the way, he has been a journalist, worked in soil decontamination, sold ice cream in California, and peddled furniture across Canada. He received a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Chicago. He taught linguistics in India, and worked as a software engineer in Montreal. He is also a certified translator, though he wishes he were an astronaut. He likes to tinker, dabbles in robotics and is somewhat obsessed with Halloween. He absolutely loves toys; his girlfriend would have him believe that he has too many, so he writes about aliens and giant robots as a blatant excuse to build action figures (for his son, of course).

Synopsis & what others have said about Sleeping Giants – Deadwood, USA. A girl sneaks out just before dark to ride her new bike. Suddenly, the ground disappears beneath her. Waking up at the bottom of a deep pit, she sees an emergency rescue team above her. The people looking down see something far stranger…“We always look forward. We never look back.”

That girl grows up to be Dr. Rose Franklyn, a brilliant scientist and the leading world expert on what she discovered. An enormous, ornate hand made of an exceptionally rare metal, which predates all human civilisation on the continent. 

“But this thing … it’s different. It challenges us. It rewrites history.”

An object whose origins and purpose are perhaps the greatest mystery humanity has ever faced. Solving the secret of where it came from – and how many more parts may be out there – could change life as we know it.

“It dares us to question what we know about ourselves.”

But what if we were meant to find it? And what happens when this vast, global puzzle is complete…?

“About everything.”

* * *

‘Bursts at the seams with big ideas. A sheer blast from start to finish. I haven’t had this much fun reading in ages’ Blake Crouch, author of the Wayward Pines trilogy

‘A stellar debut which masterfully blends sci-fi, political thriller and apocalyptic fiction. So much more than the sum of its parts – a page-turner of the highest order’ Kirkus Reviews

‘Reminiscent of The Martian and World War Z, this is a luminous conspiracy yarn that shoots for (and lands among) the stars’ Pierce Brown, author of Red Rising

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