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Editorial 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)

Publisher's Summary

Penguin presents the unabridged downloadable audiobook edition of Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. Read by William Hope, Christopher Ragland, Andy Secombe, Charlie Anson, Eric Meyers, Laurel Lefkow, Liza Ross, William Hope, Adna Sablyich and Katharine Mangold.

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 Franklin, 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.

©2016 Sylvain Neuvel (P)2016 Penguin Books Limited

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Clever, Cryptic and Creepy

I loved this. The ongoing reports of a scientific project constructing a giant, humanoid robot apparently left on earth by aliens. The narrative is structured into reports and interviews surrounding the project, performed magnificently by the cast. Covering a whole spectrum from aliens as mythic inspirations, complex human drama of a tight knit crew and international relations, this is definitely one of my most satisfying reads.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Ann
  • 16-04-2017

Once finished immediately purchased book 2.

I found this a very enjoyable listening experience.
Immediately bought the second book and look forward to the third.
Interesting story, very plausible and well researched and taught me a thing or two. Great multiple narrators whose narration gave me quite a few laughs.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Lower shelf sci fi

Interview subject X114-3.
Location: Guantanamo dunny #511
Do you like made up, pseudo military code numbers to make you feel like you’re deeply embedded?
Then you’re in the right place.
No seriously. It listens like a bad radio drama not withstanding the amount of effort made by the voice actors.
I did finish it but would not go further. I like less cheese and more brain with my sci fi.
If you’re looking to pass the time on a long flight then maybe. But if your looking for trail blazing, eye opening, sci fi then move on.
This does sound harsh but the only reason I got this book was on the back of the reviews so this may stop someone else making the same mistake.
Asimov, Clarke and Banks are a couple of shelves above if you’re looking.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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amazing

love the use of numerous performers to read the story. was gripping and different to a normal audiobook.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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fascinated

c o u l d n t s t o p l i s t e n i n g

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Bring on the alien robots!

The Themis Files are awesome! I love the format, as if you the reader are going through a collection of classified files and the events unfold as you keep reading. I'm gotta get my hands on Waking Gods asap :)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Really entertaining

This book makes a great audio book, for many of the same reasons that World War Z did. Mostly because it is written in the form of transcripts of interviews and other recordings, all of which translates very well to audio. The full cast is amazing and they give a great sense of this cast of varied characters. It wasn’t perfect, there are some things that could have been done better, and there were a few little inconsistencies in the story itself, but this was definitely a book that made me not mind having.

I really loved the exploration of the political side of discovering alien artefacts on Earth. Who gets to claim them? How will other nations react to learning that the US has been invading their turf on the down-low and taking back pieces of alien tech? What will the President say? This was an overarching theme, but the impact of this discovery on the individual characters directly involved was also engaging. I loved Kara’s prickliness and Rose’s passion. I liked seeing how Vincent was an outsider but the others still cared for him. I even grew fond of the unnamed interviewer. Kara is correct when she tells him at the end that he is full of mush inside. He totally is.

I compared this book to World War Z above, and there are ways i think it improves on that audio book. In that one, Max Brooks played the interviewer, but he also read out the parts that weren’t the other characters speaking. Where I imagine the book had “[laughs]”, he would read that out. In Sleeping Giants, the actor actually laughs instead, which made it feel that bit more authentic. But there were still scenes where something was clearly going down in the background and all we could hear was the person narrating the events. I know this is an audio book and not a radio play, but that did lessen the effect a bit for me.

Still, I had the second one out from the library before I had even finished this one because I knew I would want to continue. This is a series unlike anything I’ve come across before and I’m eager to continue.

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Highly entertaining

I really enjoyed this book. I am a lover of science fiction which drew me to this book initially. Then I found out the ramifications of this power for the human race and the political aspect of the story. All of this in addition to the brilliant voice acting and excellent plot of the story made this a book I couldn't stop listening too. I looked forward to driving to and from work just to listen to it. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, not just the sci-fi afficianados.

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Atrocious. Boring.

I just can't begin to describe how bad this was . And I want to return but I can't.

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This is brilliant.

I'm more than a little impressed with this radio play/book. there's a great synergy with the style of writing and the format of delivery.

currently buying the other two.

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  • Jas P
  • 28-08-2016

Exceptional Sci-Fi about an Alien Artifact

Where does Sleeping Giants rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It would easily be in the top 10 for the characters, the actual story, and the narration.
Although this is an exceptional tale about an Alien Artifact and its impact on those involved with it, it is also a much bigger story about the impact this artifact will have on the Human species as a whole.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Sleeping Giants?

It is difficult to say without giving away spoilers, and there are a couple of pivotal moments as well. I will let that be up to other listeners so I don't spoil it

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The main character who interviews each of the individual players in this book is somewhat of a unique person, and the narrator who portrayed this character did such a brilliant job of bringing to life the arrogance, confidence, the power he exudes in particular places. It was like the narrator 'was' this person. It was utterly brilliant.
Further to this, the narrator who played Kara was equally brilliant in portraying the abrasive, and yet likable character she was meant to be. She brought to life this women who was very straight forward in her desire to be a pilot, do her job, with no fuss, and no bulls**t, and yet, there is a softer side to her. Again, the narrator who played this role was exceptional.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Does this mean its going to be made into a movie? It would be awesome if done correctly.
This is incredibly clever, getting Audible customers to come up with possible marketing ideas for you :-)
'Some things should never be woken'

Any additional comments?

This has to one of the top 5 books/audio books of the year.
With its clever commentary style to build suspense, the clever story that leaves you wanting more (I listened to this in 2 sittings), to the ending that you will not see coming, this is a true masterpiece of Sci-Fi.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • AJ
  • 30-09-2017

Wow! Addictive and superbly produced.

I finished this in record time. I couldn't wait for the next bit of free time to continue listening. A great first time audiobook to send to sci-fi lovers who are not familiar with audiobooks yet as the full cast production adds to the submersion in the story. It isn't hardcore science fiction. There is enough suspense, intrigue, politics and basic human behaviorism to be enjoyable be even someone who just tolerates science fiction because their spouse loves it.

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  • JBL
  • 13-05-2016

One of the best audio books I've ever listened to

I think books that are written with a journal recording style make great audiobooks. What sets this apart is that they are audio journals, so are perfect for an audio book. Even the live action chapters are audio only. The acting is first rate and the story very engaging. Different actors playing the different parts makes this a real treat. I could have listened to this for hours and hours longer. The only audio book that comes close is The Martian. If you enjoyed that then you'll love this.

35 of 40 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Phillip H
  • 25-09-2016

Starts well but loses its way

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Yes; to a point. The initial plot was intriguing and the narrative structure (interviews with participants) well used, but the plot got a lot weaker from about half way and I could have stopped listening then.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Dull. In fact there wasn't an ending as such.

What three words best describe the narrators’s voice?

Clear, good accents.

If this book were a film would you go see it?

No.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • David W.
  • 16-07-2016

Excellent story, excellent performances!

I bought this off the back of the recent Alien Out of the Shadows (another excellent audiobook).

This however was something else, told in a very World War Z way of recounting files after the event. The story is intriguing and some characters whom I thought would inevitably be the bad guys... Actually I'll stop. Because I wouldn't want to spoil it.

I really think this has legs to be a great epic saga. I really hope the author follows this up soon and follows the characters, including the character who features in the epilogue, into whatever happens next!

Sorry this review is all over the place. I've literally just finished it and just thought it was brilliant!

The voice actors did extremely well, easily recognisable and distinct. I also hope they recruit the same folks for any sequels.

5/5. Great work all round!

15 of 18 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Becky
  • 11-06-2016

Really great book with brilliant narration

This book is so wonderfully written and they style is so easy to follow, the character's and well rounded and interesting some you absolutely love and some you really hate. the narration is beautifully done they each are very memorable and don't blend together so it's easy to keep track of who is speaking at any given time. all in all I really enjoyed this book I've read it a couple times before I bought it on here but listening to it gave a whole new feeling it made everything far more intense. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone it's intelligent and well written as well and narrated and is such an interesting and brilliant concept.

26 of 32 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Dr Caterpillar
  • 20-09-2016

Lumbering

Would you try another book written by Sylvain Neuvel or narrated by the narrators?

No, at least not in this series. It was a very interesting experiment, I am glad they did it, and I hope other teams try similar things. But the story just isn't good enough in my opinion.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Most interesting: Very much the narration. It feels like a production in a way that World War Z didn't quite (to cite a book this one is often compared with).
Least interesting: The central idea. It's not giving too much away to say it features the discovery of a giant alien robot that kicks botty. It starts off interesting, but it doesn't really go anywhere with the idea. Then the story turns into a political thriller and eventually ends.
There are some plot twists that reignite interest, including one that made me think, "No, you just can't do that to someone!" The science is credible, and the implications are generally well explored.
But at the end of the day it's just an X-Filesish story about a big robot. And add me to the list of people who didn't like the ending - it was the opposite of surprising.

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

As the story is told mainly in the form of interviews, I cannot imagine reading it as a straight book, although I believe it exists in that form.
Despite its success in this area, I have given 4 stars rather than five because the Nameless Bloke kept doing that tiresome thing a certain kind of cliched character does in thrillers - pretending to search for a euphemism. "That would be... unfortunate." Okay, so maybe it's the story's fault rather than the reader, but with the sort of power he wields he could surely arrange to have the dialogue... refined.

Do you think Sleeping Giants needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Well the "1" at the end of the title suggests it's the first book of a series, and it ends on an unresolved note. However, as I was tempted to give up on it, I am happy to have finished it.

Any additional comments?

I find it odd to consider what stood out in my mind. There's a scene in which an angry character is trying to make a serious point, but he's having trouble doing this because he can't remember the correct term for an inhabitant of Iceland - is it Icelander? Icelandic? It's exactly the sort of frustrating thing that happens in real life but rarely in fiction. In an otherwise very earnest work, it struck me as very funny.

20 of 25 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jim
  • 06-05-2016

Unique

This is different from any SF I have read or heard before. Especially as the technique of giving us information by interviews et cetera. Overall story was great, and the use of different voices brilliant. Loved it.

16 of 20 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Fiona
  • 08-06-2017

A fabulous journey!

I was wary of this book - not sure why, but I wasn't keen on the idea of it being told by first-person interviews with the key characters.
Very glad to discover I was wrong - it's great, and such a clever way of telling the story.

This book took my imagination to places it just wouldn't ever have got to without it, and to me that's the mark of a great story. It's full of intrigue, a little peril, a lot of "wow", and some really great characters.

I loved this, it's a really interesting story that requires the listener to engage their brain, and left me with my brain firing off in all sorts of wonderful directions. Book two NOW!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Urban Fox
  • 26-05-2017

Gets a little lost

The book really works well up until halfway and then it began to feel Sylvain just ran out of ideas or that every chapter from then on was written by someone new. Spoilers coming so be warned. The whole story lost its way as well as the main character. She wasn't a particularly good character anyway but as start the whole story with a flashback of her as a child you kind of hope she will be of some significance to the story. She isn't. Some of the other characters are really interesting and we'll acted (apart from one character whose accent is appalling) she sounded more Chinese than Bosnian/Greek. To conclude I loved the first half but the second half of the book is just feels aimless. You start to care less and less about everyone and want to see the robot in action, something sadly denied to us. Also the epilogue really doesn't add anything and seems like an after thought because she was supposed to be the main character.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jane Shepherd
  • 17-02-2017

Excellent!

I loved this unusual and riveting story. I normally avoid audiobooks with multiple readers but thoroughly enjoyed listening to all the voice actors reading this novel. The whole idea of there being multiple parts of a "robot" found scattered around the globe was fascinating and the characters involved were interesting. My only concern is the human attitude to unknown extraterrestrials as I prefer my aliens to be friendly and the humans to be less bellicose than is usual in books and films. Can't wait for Book 2.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • ALP
  • 12-02-2017

Why is no one comparing this to anime?

The interesting writing style of this book (told through audio logs, recorded interviews) draws a lot of comparisons to books like World War Z and the Martian, but more importantly why is no one comparing the storyline to manga or anime?! Probably to not give too much away, but if I'd have known I would've picked this up a lot sooner.

Without giving spoilers (to those in the know) think somewhere between NGE and TTGL (at a stretch) in a serious western setting and you wouldn't be miles off. Absolutely loved the multi-cast performance and the surprising twists of the story, definitely at the top of my list for series to follow!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful