Half a million years in the future, on a dead, war-ravaged world at the centre of the galaxy, there is a mile-high statue of Michael Poole. Poole, born on Earth in the fourth millennium, was one of mankind's most influential heroes. He was not a warrior, not an emperor. He was an engineer, a builder of wormhole transit systems. But Poole's work would ultimately lead to a vast and destructive conflict, a million-year war between humanity and the enigmatic, powerful aliens known as the Xeelee. The Xeelee won, but at a huge cost. And, defeated in a greater war, the Xeelee eventually fled the universe. Most of them. A handful were left behind, equipped with time travel capabilities, their task to tidy up: to reorder history more to the Xeelee's liking. That million-year war with humankind was one blemish. It had to be erased. And in order to do that, a lone Xeelee was sent back in time to remove Michael Poole from history.
©2017 Stephen Baxter (P)2017 Orion Publishing Group
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Customer Reviews

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1 out of 5 stars
By Craig Bryan on 02-11-17

Great book DESTROYED by a dreadful narration!

This is a continuation of the Xeelee sequence and I have read all the previous books and thoroughly enjoyed them. This one is no exception. It's amazing!
However, I had to give up on the audible version after the first five chapters so that I could read it myself. The narrator is dreadful!!!
If you want to listen to it then you will have to play it back at at least double the speed just so that it is read at close to normal speed. The narrators chosen speed of reading is sloooow! He pauses for aeons between sentences and often in the middle of sentences too.
There's no real attempt to perform the voices either. Sometimes he will start a sentence in a slightly different voice but by the end of the sentence he has reverted back to his normal voice - if you could describe his voice as normal.

I've always pronounced Xeelee as Zeelee as does everyone I know. I even pronounced it that way when talking to Stephen Baxter directly and he didn't correct me so I presume that is the way it should be pronounced but this guy chooses to pronounce it in the same way that Americans pronounce the country Chile - "ChiLay" - Ridiculous!

The book is great - buy it, read it and you'll love it but if you must have it in audio format - buy the book and ask a friend to read it for you. Don't buy Dudley Hinton's perversion of the book.
In fact, if this is anything to go by, I wouldn't buy any book narrated by Dudley Hinton - I'd rather listen to nails scraped down a blackboard!

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