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Publisher's Summary

He'd had so many names over the centuries, so many new identities that he could scarcely remember who he had originally been. Now his name was Daetrin, a name given by the alien conquerors of humankind, the Tyr.

Three hundred years had passed since the Tyr conquered the people of Earth as they had previously overcome numerous races throughout the galaxy. In their victory they had taken the very heart out of the human race, isolating the true individualists, the geniuses, all the people who represented the hopes, dreams, and discoveries of the future, and imprisoning them in dome colonies on planets hostile to human life. There the Tyr, a race which shared a unified gestalt mind, had left these gifted individuals to work on projects which would, the conquerors hoped, reveal all of humankind's secrets to them.

Yet Daetrin's secret was one no scientist had even uncovered, for down through the years he had succeeded in burying it so well that he had even hidden his real nature from himself. But, taken into custody by the Tyr, there was no longer any place for Daetrin to run, no new name and life for him to assume. Now he would at last be forced to confront the truth about himself-and if he failed, not just Daetrin but all humans would pay the price....

©1990 C.S. Friedman (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Madness Season

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Speech goes quiet and loud

The story is wonderful, one of my favourites , but the speech keeps changing from quiet to loud and I have to keep changing the volume

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Profile Image for Kat Hooper
  • Kat Hooper
  • 23-08-2012

Quickly becoming a fan of C.S. Friedman

What did you love best about The Madness Season?

I am quickly becoming a fan of C.S. Friedman. Audible Frontiers has recently produced all her novels in audio format, so I snatched them up and I’m happy I did. Her science fiction is original, imaginative, and super smart.

In The Madness Season, a man named Daetrin is old enough to have fought in the last battle when the Earth was conquered by the aliens of Tyr. That was three hundred years ago and the Tyrians want to know how Daetrin is still alive. So they’ve captured him, just like they’ve rounded up all the humans who they think they can learn something from. The Tyr have been genetically engineering the humans who are left on Earth — breeding out creativity, intelligence, and rebelliousness in the hopes of making them more biddable — but some humans have found ways to resist their captors’ plans. Daetrin is worried about what they intend to do with him. If he cooperates with them, will he doom the future of his own people? Should he try to find some allies and fight back? Or is it possible that there are values more important than survival?

The Madness Season showcases many of C.S. Friedman’s admirable skills: inventive and perfectly leak-proof plot, excellent character development (this book contains some of my favorite Friedman characters so far), elegant writing style, a nice balance of tension and release, a touch of understated humor, and a foundation of science (math, physics, biology, comparative anatomy, neuroscience, evolution, sociology) that informs without being at all teachy.

Perhaps what I appreciate most about C.S. Friedman is that she creates wonderfully inventive worlds, species, languages, and cultures that truly feel alien rather than just variations on humanity. Friedman’s aliens are so alien that they’re frightening. They have different language processing equipment, different sensory systems, and completely different ways of thinking. All of their physiological and psychological details are different from ours, but Friedman uses her scientific knowledge to construct them so that they make sense. Friedman also has interesting insights and ideas about human behavior — again, backed up by research findings about memory, perception, consciousness, sleep, etc.

Jonathan Davis, as I’ve said so many times before, is one of the very best audiobook narrators. As usual, he gives a terrific reading of The Madness Season. Even though he speaks a little too slowly (I had to increase the playback speed), Davis has perfect cadence and makes it possible to forget that we’re being read to. If you see Jonathan Davis’ name on the cover, you can be sure it’s a good production. I highly recommend The Madness Season — especially in audio format!

(print 1990, audio 2012) He’d had so many names over the centuries, so many new identities that he could scarcely remember who he had originally been. Now his name was Daetrin, a name given by the alien conquerors of humankind, the Tyr. Three hundred years had passed since the Tyr conquered the people of Earth as they had previously overcome numerous races throughout the galaxy. In their victory they had taken the very heart out of the human race, isolating the true individualists, the geniuses, all the people who represented the hopes, dreams, and discoveries of the future, and imprisoning them in dome colonies on planets hostile to human life. There the Tyr, a race which shared a unified gestalt mind, had left these gifted individuals to work on projects which would, the conquerors hoped, reveal all of humankind’s secrets to them. Yet Daetrin’s secret was one no scientist had even uncovered, for down through the years he had succeeded in burying it so well that he had even hidden his real nature from himself. But, taken into custody by the Tyr, there was no longer any place for Daetrin to run, no new name and life for him to assume. Now he would at last be forced to confront the truth about himself-and if he failed, not just Daetrin but all humans would pay the price….
Originally posted at FanLit.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Ann J.M.S Harlan
  • 13-04-2013

Intimate narration of an intricate story

This is the first book I read by one of my favorite authors, the one that made me look for others, and an excellent example of her work. The narrator has a very warm, clear and intimate style, and is perfect for this book; the voice characterizations are excellent and subtle. This tale has several different story arcs that are related and intertwined, but not tangled or confusing, and are each as satisfyingly resolved as a short story could be, yet are important enhancements to the whole. The level of scientific speculation, while integrating wonder and even a nod to archetypal horror fantasy elements, is simply amazing. There is one first person protagonist, and several secondary characters who are presented in intimate third person, and even tertiary characters are well developed; the reader gains a great view of their motivations and development, and true empathy for many. This is a rich stand-alone story and rewards any number of re-readings, more complex even than the Black Sun Rising trilogy (also among my favorite books); highly recommended idea and character driven speculative fiction. Only possible improvement would be a Kindle edition with Whispersync (but not truly necessary).

5 people found this helpful

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  • Thomas
  • 21-05-2013

Pleasantly Surprised

Enjoyable, what a great few days listening to this story. The performance is good, the writing, superb. The twists and turns, the expected does not happen.

Every C.S. Friedman book that I have listened too has been great. The story is unique. A well spent credit.

4 people found this helpful

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  • JH
  • 09-09-2015

Completely awesome

The narrator was perfectly paired with the novel. He really brought all the characters alive.

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  • Tango
  • 17-09-2020

Madness is right

Angsty, morose, and confusing. Great world-building, but horrible characters no one could relate to. Like a bad LSD trip. Lot of promise, but did not deliver. Do not read if you are depressed - could provoke suicidal thoughts in a totally balanced person. This is really no fun and painful. Jonathan Davis is pretty good if speeded up - too slow and angsty for a pleasure read.

1 person found this helpful

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  • GreyGarou
  • 19-12-2018

One of My Favorites Performed Well

I love this book, and the performance was fantastic. The characters, and there are a large variety were superbly acted. It just gave one of my favorite books additional depth.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Christa
  • 26-07-2012

SciFi take on the vampire mythos.

This is an interesting attempts at making vampires scifi instead of fantasy, along with some fascinating alien species. It loses a star for too much angst, on ocassion, from both the story and the narrator. It's perfectly logical for the character, under the circumstances, but it can be a little wearing to listen to. Still worth a listen, though.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Billy Helmick
  • 24-05-2021

Well Read

So I read this book when I was like 18 or 19. Happened upon it a couple of weeks ago am usually reluctant to listen to something I have already read. Just because of how I envision the charters. in my head. But Was pleasantly surprised with this one. Worth the listen.

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  • Moses Krueger
  • 13-01-2021

A Stunning Underrated Novel

I absolutely loved this book. The narration was absolutely phenomenal, and blew my breath away. You could purchase this book for it alone and be satisfied. The story is regardless complex and interesting, very much an original work of science fiction. But I can't stress enough, Johnathan Davis' work on this audiobook is mind-blowing. The voices he uses has such a grip on the listener that it had me hooked from the first sentence and I will have to search out more of his narration, as it is so great I' listen, no mater the subject.

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  • jwill
  • 18-12-2019

wonderful

well read, I found myself sitting in my vehicle just listen after arriving at my destination. one of my favorite books.

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