Saturday, November 4, 2017

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

A little girl goes exploring in the woods and falls down in a hole.  When she is discovered, she is curled up on the surface of a giant hand.  The little girl grows up to be a scientist, and her crowning achievement is as the head of a group that is put together to explore the amazing metal hand she had discovered as a child.  The hand was excavated and discovered to be constructed of a rare metal and half the weight that it should be from what was known of the metal's characteristics.  Over time, other parts of the figure were discovered all over the world, and it is put together to form a massive woman robot.

Next comes the ability to study it and determine its purpose.  A team is assembled.  Rose Franklin is the scientist who originally found the hand and now heads up the research team.  A pair of pilots from the military are drafted into the program to actually enter and steer the robot.  The woman pilot is a strong personality who is a natural leader but who will break rules when she sees a way forward.  Her co-pilot is a man who is more ready to follow the rules.  Then there is a Canadian linguist graduate student who is brought in to decipher the symbols written on the robot.  Controlling them all is a shadowy figure whose name and purpose is never revealed.  They discover that the robot is capable of either saving or completely destroying the human race.  Which will it be?

This is a fascinating novel that is a quick read and is the first book in a trilogy.  The story is told through a series of interviews with the overseer and journal entries from the various individuals involved.  The interplay of personalities and the potential for either advancing civilization or destroying makes for an engaging read that is hard to put down.  This is a debut novel and a fascinating start for this author.  This book is recommended for science fiction readers.

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