Orbit - Dec 2004
416 pages -- £6.99
Tor - April 2005
304 pages -- $25.95
Tor - February 2007
438 pages -- $7.99
"The Great Ship is home to a multitude of alien races and a near-immortal crew. They have toured the Milky Way for millennia, the best and the brightest from a thousand worlds, but the true purpose of the Ship has remained hidden. Now, time is running out. The huge spacecraft is heading for the dark, immense region of space known as the Ink Well, and the only entity in the universe more vast and mysterious than the Great Ship is lying in wait..." -- text from the back cover of the UK paperback edition
"The Ink Well. Directly above were far fewer suns, most of them rather small and all of them nearby, and beyond those points of light was a different species of blackness, deeper and much stronger, possessing a palpable mass and a distinct chill that any experienced starfarer would recognize at a glance.
The nebula was black for two basic reasons. Enough gas and cold dust were spread out before them to build almost a thousand suns. Barely a handful of dwarf suns were scattered across a roughly spherical volume better than twelve light-years in diameter. Without illumination from within, the cloud was blacker and even colder than it would normally be.
What lived within the nebula used deeply encrypted tools for what surely had to be the most benign chatter, and that kind of secrecy itself might be something of a clue. A harbinger.
Every species seemed to have its own name for that dark and rather mysterious smear. The Cloud. The Deep Dark. The Dust. And on a few occasions, The Face of God. The Master Captain named it the Ink Well, after an ancient artifact. As she said, 'A little bath of potential from which great and hopeful things were born...!'" -- text from the back cover of the US hardback edition
"In The Well of Stars, Hugo Award-nominated author Robert Reed has written a stunning sequel to his acclaimed novel Marrow. The Great Ship, so vast that it contains within its depths a planet that lay undiscovered for generations, has cruised through the universe for untold billions of years. After a disastrous exploration of the planet Marrow, the Ship's captains face an increasingly restive population aboard their mammoth vessel.
And now, compounding the captains' troubles, the Ship is heading on an irreversable course straight for the Ink Well, a dark opaque nebula. Washen and Pamir, the captains for saved Marrow from utter destruction, send Mere, whose uncanny ability to adapt to and understand other cultures makes her the only one for the job, to investigate the nebula before they plunge blindly in. While Mere is away, Pamir discovers in the Ink Well the presence of a godlike entity with powers so potentially destructive that it might destroy the ship and its millions.
Faced with an entity that might prevent the Ship from ever leaving the Ink Well, the Ship's only hope now rests in the ingenuity of the vast crew...and with Mere, who has not contacted them since she left the Ship...
With the excitement of epic science fiction adventure set against a universe full of wonders, the odyssey of the Ship and its captains will capture the hearts of science fiction readers." -- text from the flyleaf of the US hardback edition
"Into the Ink Well... The Great Ship is almost as old as the galaxy, carrying on its endless voyage millions of people of many races and mysteries unplumbed by no one alive to tell the tale. Having survived the disastrous exploration of the planet Marrow, which existed for unknown eons within its depths, the Ship and its human captains now face a new danger, an inexorable force from within: the passenders aboard the vessel itself, bent on rebellion. Worse yet, the Ship is on a course straight toward the Ink Well, a dark nebula teeming with unknowable life. As a captain races ahead to scout the dread dark zone, they detect the presence of an entity with godlike powers that threatens to destroy the enormous, ancient ship and its millions. Desperate to survive the twin threats, the captains face an epic struggle that will test the limits of their endurance and the strength of the enigmatic Ship. This is an epic science fiction adventure set against a universe full of wonder." -- text from the back cover of the US paperback edition
"THE WELL OF STARS is wonderful far-future SF of the best kind: imaginative, epic, mind-blowing, but anchored by a strong sense of character and a glorious cast of heroes and rogues. The Great ship is surely one of the most audacious creations in recent SF."
- ALASTAIR REYNOLDS
• Sequel to Marrow
• Locus Recommended Reading List - 2005
• John W. Campbell Award Finalist - 2005
Bragelonne - June 2007
French Trade Paperback
Olivier Debernard (translation)
Stephan Martiniere (cover art)
451 pages -- $22.00
This page last updated: August 5, 2014