Summary

It was just before Summertide, the time when the twin planets, Opal and Quake, would orbit closest to their sun, subjecting both - Quake in particular - to vast tidal forces. It was to be the most violent Summertide ever, creating something that only happened every 350,000 years. Access to the unstable Quake was supposed to be prohibited, but some very insistent travelers were determined to make the trip. Professor Darya Lang, who studied artifacts left by the long-vanished aliens called the Builders, had a hunch that she might find the Builders themselves. Louis Nenda and the Cecropian Atvar H'sial had their own interests in Quake, and would do anything to get there. And Councilor Julius Graves was hunting murderers - if they were hiding on Quake, he would find them.
Planetary Administrators Hans Rebka and Max Perry had no choice but to go to Quake - risking their lives to protect the others - and to learn, just maybe, the secret of Summertide and the Builders.
©1990, 1991, 1992, and 1997 Charles Sheffield (P)2002 Blackstone Audiobooks
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Herve Bronnimann on 09-08-05

Intriguing and leaving you wanting for more...

Fortunately, this is only the first volume of the Heritage Universe series. There are three more. I wanted to listen to this book because it's a classic. And it is well deserved. We are left with enigma of the Others, until the end (will have to read the next book to know more about that) but something does happen -- not unexpectedly -- at the end. While the background and indeed the whole intrigue of the book is tapestried on the Artifacts left by an ancient and disappeared civilization, the whole story is really about these five or six characters that pursue the enigma by being at the right place at the right time, a fact noticed by only the experts or by chance for some. It is a very serious story, there is not much humor in it. It's elaborate, consistent (scientifically and literarily), and has a nice ending point that at once concludes the current story and opens vast possibilities for the next three volumes. However, I wouldn't recommend this book if you're not ready to listen to the next three...

In passing, I should mention another old classic that treats exactly the same theme with slightly different point of view, and is a LOT more fun, in that it's written very wittily and funnily. It's the Heechee saga by Frederik Pohl (Gateway, Beyond the Blue Event Horizon, Hechee Rendez-Vous, and Annals of the Hechee). Now those are books that I would treasure in audio format. If you've enjoyed that one, this Summertide will feel a bit austere and just a bit belabored sometimes. But it's still good science fiction.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By John A. M. Darnell on 24-11-03

High Science Fiction - not for the faint of heart

Charles Sheffield believed in hard science and even harder science fiction. All of his stories are built on extrapolations from present day science to some future filled with incredible technological magic. Summertide is no different. The story itself will appeal only to those who enjoy technological fantasies, and if you are someone like that, then the mediocre performance of the reader will not trouble you. For all the rest, no matter who performed the work, you would find it wanting.
As for me, I strongly recommend it. When I have the time and the credit, I intend to get all four of these novels on CD (through Audible, of course).

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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