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A new generation is growing up on the island paradise of Camelot, ignorant of the Great Grendel Wars fought when their parents and grandparents first arrived from Earth. Setting out for the mainland, this group of young rebels feels ready to fight any grendels that get in their way. On Avalon, however, there are monsters which dwarf the ones their parents fought, and as th A new generation is growing up on the island paradise of Camelot, ignorant of the Great Grendel Wars fought when their parents and grandparents first arrived from Earth. Setting out for the mainland, this group of young rebels feels ready to fight any grendels that get in their way. On Avalon, however, there are monsters which dwarf the ones their parents fought, and as the group will soon learn, monsters also dwell in the human heart.


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A new generation is growing up on the island paradise of Camelot, ignorant of the Great Grendel Wars fought when their parents and grandparents first arrived from Earth. Setting out for the mainland, this group of young rebels feels ready to fight any grendels that get in their way. On Avalon, however, there are monsters which dwarf the ones their parents fought, and as th A new generation is growing up on the island paradise of Camelot, ignorant of the Great Grendel Wars fought when their parents and grandparents first arrived from Earth. Setting out for the mainland, this group of young rebels feels ready to fight any grendels that get in their way. On Avalon, however, there are monsters which dwarf the ones their parents fought, and as the group will soon learn, monsters also dwell in the human heart.

30 review for Beowulf's Children

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dirk Grobbelaar

    The Legacy of Heorot is one of a few novels I have read multiple times. It was also my introduction, not only to hard science fiction, but to horror. The Grendels were terrifying. The Dragons of Heorot (also published as Beowulf's Children) is a very different kettle of fish. It gets off to a slow start. Then it hits a slow middle. Finally there is a bit of an upsurge, but then it dies a slow death. It’s not just that it’s a bad book, but it’s got too big boots to fill. The new generation of char The Legacy of Heorot is one of a few novels I have read multiple times. It was also my introduction, not only to hard science fiction, but to horror. The Grendels were terrifying. The Dragons of Heorot (also published as Beowulf's Children) is a very different kettle of fish. It gets off to a slow start. Then it hits a slow middle. Finally there is a bit of an upsurge, but then it dies a slow death. It’s not just that it’s a bad book, but it’s got too big boots to fill. The new generation of characters left me cold, and I found myself hoping they would be killed in agonising ways. Hopefully this doesn’t classify me as mentally unstable. The father vs daughter vs brother theme is positively Shakespearian, and I didn’t buy into it. The novel shows clearly the consequences of ignoring an obvious problem for too long. What it doesn’t do, is give a satisfactory explanation for the lack of any action. Characters discuss the problem throughout the novel but they never act on it until it’s too late. Why? There was a character in this book that I disliked so much that I would have welcomed chapters and chapters of Grendels inflicting the most horrendous tortures on him. Alas. I will say this about the book: it did get me emotionally involved. It’s not all bad news. There are some things to like about the novel. The scribes, for example, are fascinating creatures. The science, of course, is solid (this is Niven after all) and the ecological exploration is interesting. The book is really more akin to a stroll across the surface of the planet, discussing what is observed and squabbling about ownership. It's hard to recommend reading this if you have read Legacy of Heorot. Dragons of Heorot may succeed as a novel about colonisation, or as a novel about ecological science. It fails as a sequel. Despite all the book’s posturing and build up, the Grendels are nothing more than a footnote, and a sad one at that. Those magnificently terrifying creatures of Legacy have become about as scary as the neighbour’s Labrador… and that’s what ticks me off the most!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    The main thing wrong with this book is that it's not nearly as good as the first volume, The Legacy of Heorot. The exploration and colonization themes take second place to ideas about sociology and politics that the authors want to espouse. There was a rather long period between the two, so it's fitting that this book takes up with the next generation. Their story is well told and the world is shown to have developed in a logical and interesting fashion. Niven & Co., as always, present their sci The main thing wrong with this book is that it's not nearly as good as the first volume, The Legacy of Heorot. The exploration and colonization themes take second place to ideas about sociology and politics that the authors want to espouse. There was a rather long period between the two, so it's fitting that this book takes up with the next generation. Their story is well told and the world is shown to have developed in a logical and interesting fashion. Niven & Co., as always, present their scientific hypotheses in a thought-provoking and entertaining manner. I suspect that I really liked the book for what it was and I shouldn't blame it for not being what it wasn't intended to be.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    Same as previous part: Hollywood movie style. But it's a light reading, full of action (although a bit improbable on occasion and has some unimportant details stretched too much). What I liked most was the interaction between grendels and humans, idea which could have been developed more. Anyway, it is an enjoyable story, perfect for vacation or a relaxing weekend. Same as previous part: Hollywood movie style. But it's a light reading, full of action (although a bit improbable on occasion and has some unimportant details stretched too much). What I liked most was the interaction between grendels and humans, idea which could have been developed more. Anyway, it is an enjoyable story, perfect for vacation or a relaxing weekend.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Zachary

    I grabbed this book because I remembered it being mentioned as a highlight of Larry Niven's bibliography in another of his books. That, and the cover was kinda exciting with the gold print and all. That said, I wasn't sure I would enjoy this book too much because one of the aspects of sci-fi that I enjoy so much is the gadgets, gizmos and high tech in general. This was a book about a group of colonists sent out to a planet from Earth who have lost contact with Earth and are struggling to make th I grabbed this book because I remembered it being mentioned as a highlight of Larry Niven's bibliography in another of his books. That, and the cover was kinda exciting with the gold print and all. That said, I wasn't sure I would enjoy this book too much because one of the aspects of sci-fi that I enjoy so much is the gadgets, gizmos and high tech in general. This was a book about a group of colonists sent out to a planet from Earth who have lost contact with Earth and are struggling to make this new planet their own - in spite of some super-charged alien animals who have evolved there! I wasn't sure if that was a recipe for the type of sci-fi I enjoyed. Well, whether or not the general recipe was to my personal taste, the execution, for the most part, was. The authors kept me intrigued from the first page. The world and the science they created and set the story in was so well-thought out and, in effect, real that I was completely caught up in it. The characters were strong, intriguing and engaging. And the plot never felt forced, all the intrigue, chaos and action unfolded very naturally, though sometimes at breakneck speed. After I finished reading it, I found out that this was actually a sequel to another book, Legacy of Heorot. That was irritating, I had to read the books out of chronological order. Oh well - they were both good, but, in my mind, this was definitely a step better. It was just a little more complex plot-wise as well as with the characters. But I definitely recommend reading Legacy of Heorot as well - first if you can manage it! My only hesitation in recommending it is the extremely casual attitude and atmosphere regarding sex in the colonists. All the colonists having been thoroughly screened before being accepted into the colonization program ensured that there was virtually no chance of a sexually transmitted disease in their community. That element, combined with a lack of religious restraint on relationships, created an environment where sexual partnering was done at a whim, though most eventually settled down with more "permanent" partners. But among the youth there is an extremely casual attitude towards sex, and though most specific/explicit details are left out, many encounters are described in varying amounts of detail. But, interestingly enough, there is one conversation between a young lady and her 'father figure' near the end of the book where she expresses some regret that she, as well as all her peers, has been so prolific in her sexual partnering. So do I recommend the book? For the most part, but be aware of a decently strong permeation of a casual (i.e. unbiblical) attitude towards sex. That reason alone makes me hesitant to suggest it to anyone not yet out of high school. But it is an incredibly well-written book, with very strong science behind everything. If you want to read an excellent, stand-alone novel of science fiction, this is one I might recommend, even if you're not the biggest fan of sci-fi.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sean Smart

    What a slow boring and disappointing read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Russell

    Reading Beowulf's Children I found my self equal parts absorbed and frustrated. I enjoyed the setting, no, I loved the setting - a beautifully constructed world that the inhabitants were struggling to understand and live in, with lifeforms that struck the right chord between alien and believable. Where I struggled was with the protagonist's. More specifically the protagonists'ages. Here we have a community where 16 and 17 year-old's have a genuine say in the politics and governance of the commun Reading Beowulf's Children I found my self equal parts absorbed and frustrated. I enjoyed the setting, no, I loved the setting - a beautifully constructed world that the inhabitants were struggling to understand and live in, with lifeforms that struck the right chord between alien and believable. Where I struggled was with the protagonist's. More specifically the protagonists'ages. Here we have a community where 16 and 17 year-old's have a genuine say in the politics and governance of the community, take younger children away for extended trips in the dangerous wilderness and are concerned with their careers as biologists, scientists and artists. At the same time this maturity is juxtaposed with their constant desire for sex, playing practical jokes and breaking free from the control of the adults of their world. It just did not sit comfortably with me. Whenever the characters were talking about "examining the specimen" or "organising a hunt" I would read it, accept it and then remember that they are 16 and complaining moments before that the adults are too stayed and controlling. It continually dragged me out of the fiction. I don't know why it was such a problem for me. Perhaps it says more about me and what I believe young people are capable of, then it does about the novel. The "youth must break free" themes / message just feels inconcruous with the freedom the characters / society have and I found it hard to believe. I was going to rate this novel 2-stars, but the beautifully constructed environment gave it a bump to 3-stars.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    An excellent follow up to The Legacy of Heorot. I really wouldn't mind if they did another book set on Avalon, maybe one set a few generations in the future, once the colonists have really started to come to terms with Avalon's unique biodiversity. I also like the snippets, early on, from a speech (made by one of the characters) on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein having a crypto-feminist agenda. I wonder if that speech exists in full somewhere. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable return to one of Niven An excellent follow up to The Legacy of Heorot. I really wouldn't mind if they did another book set on Avalon, maybe one set a few generations in the future, once the colonists have really started to come to terms with Avalon's unique biodiversity. I also like the snippets, early on, from a speech (made by one of the characters) on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein having a crypto-feminist agenda. I wonder if that speech exists in full somewhere. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable return to one of Niven & Barnes (& Pournelle!)'s more interesting worlds. I don't know how multiple authors can work together on a book like that, but these guys do it repeatedly, and do a damn fine job of it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bryan

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. http://mark12ministries.wordpress.com... "Beowulf's Children" is the sequel to "The Legacy of Heorot" and is a rich, interesting, disgusting tragedy that has elements from the Book of Genesis, Beowulf, and Oedipus all in one volume. Although I have to give the book a Hard "R" rating, and cannot recommend it to minors, and most Christians probably wouldn't want to read it, it is one of the more fascinating, skillful, and complex SF books around. It is a coming of age novel, but the young people ar http://mark12ministries.wordpress.com... "Beowulf's Children" is the sequel to "The Legacy of Heorot" and is a rich, interesting, disgusting tragedy that has elements from the Book of Genesis, Beowulf, and Oedipus all in one volume. Although I have to give the book a Hard "R" rating, and cannot recommend it to minors, and most Christians probably wouldn't want to read it, it is one of the more fascinating, skillful, and complex SF books around. It is a coming of age novel, but the young people are super brilliant and live on Tau Ceti 4, abandoned by Earth, distrustful of their parents who have "ice on the brain" and intent on conquering the savage planet that is their inheritance. Published in 1995 by Tor Books, this 493 page book is an excellent sequel to the first volume that explores the second generation on Tau Ceti 4, and how they rebel against the conservative, cautious and wounded natures of their parents. Coming of age novels do usually show rebellion, attitude and sexuality- this does so with a vengeance and an evil twist. The plot revolves around Aaron, one of the Star Born, a bottle baby who did not grow in a real womb, but the artificial womb on board the starship Geographic. Without parents he was raised by the community along with the 2 dozen others of his kind. His brilliance, natural leadership abilities and physical prowess combine to make him the leader of the Star Born. But the problem is that he has sociopathic tendencies. An expert manipulator and control freak, Aaron Tragon's mission in life is to break free from the constraints of the older leadership on Camelot, an island, and start a colony on the mainland so that they can begin the real study of this planet that will be their home. The older generation, scarred and scared by the Grendels, a reptillian monster that can attack at speeds around 90mph, can eat just about anything and is incredibly hard to kill, once were adventurous, but now, chastened by so many deaths in the Grendel Wars, are hesitant to let go of the apron strings and allow the younger generation to explore. Aaron, through manipulation that involves bedding the governor's daughter, and getting her pregnant, gets his way, but at a terrible price. But Aaron will pay any price to get what he wants. One of the best features of both volumes in this series is how much they tell about the process of settling a new, alien world. Most SF books lightly skip over the details of new worlds with alien biology. This book gives details. No doubt, to some, these kinds of details will be too detailed and boring. To me, however, the details make it come alive. No wonder Tom Clancy liked this book! Unfortunately, the authors do include a s super computer with some kind of super manufacturing process that can make just about anything they order, they just have to extract enough raw material from the planet. That whole process is almost like deus ex machina or like the Star Trek "duplicator". The authors make the wildlife and flora come alive, terrifyingly alive. They do a fabulous job of making the planet seem real, from the tiniest bugs to the largest animals to the weather patterns. Showing the diversity of the Grendels is a masterful touch and detailing the thought processes and the changes within Old Grendel leads us to look on the Grendels in a wholly new light from the first volume. The evil enemy has now become an individual. One of the more disturbing aspects of the major theme, coming of age, is the complete lack of spirituality, faith, religion and even morals in the younger generation. Back in the first novel, at the funeral service for those killed in the first big Grendel attack, they realize it may have been a mistake to not have included a minister or rabbi in the group. They pay for that mistake with their children. Because there is no religion, and because all STD's have been eliminated, free sex abounds. The sex scenes are to numerous to count, but the authors, thankfully, spare us most of the details. The intent of the sex scenes is not to titillate, but to show how shallow casual sex becomes. Sex without the love and security of marriage leaves many of the key characters empty. This is discussed at length in pp.407-410 and marriage on pp. 64, 97-98. I came away thinking that the authors were not satisfied with monogamous, lifelong marriage, but realized that sex without rules was a bad plan. It doesn't seem they had a good solution. That is fitting because when you cross God's boundaries for sex, it will ultimately bring pain, loneliness and failure. For comparison's sake, the sex in Niven's Ringworld books is pretty pointless and does not enhance the story at all, but the sex here, like in Clarke/Lee's Rama series, does make a point that enhances the story. Nonetheless, the sex makes for a hard "R" in my rating. Parents should not let their children read this book; it is for adults. The book is good about showing the failure of the idea that "it takes a village" to raise a child. Because the "bottle babies" were conceived and born outside the womb, and were not adopted by parents for the most part, they feell no loyalty to the older generation and hae a disconnect with people in general. This is shown in their failure ot bond with each other despite their sexual freedom. There is loneliness here, expressed not just by the bottle babies, but by the whole colony that has not heard from earth in over 20 years and by the older generation singles who did not not marry. The book has a good discussion of what the could go wrong with the bottle babies because of no womb experience. This is sobering as our society draws closer to this concept. The authors go even deeper into the psychology and makeup of various characters than the first volume did. The character development is outstanding as it shows the journey Aaron takes from popular youth leader to arrested sociopath/prophet. The sad journeys of Mary Ann and Sylvia, Cadmann, and their children Justin and Jessica are painfully real and well told. The authors do a heroic job of setting us up for the deaths of not just one key character, but 5-6. Not many authors will kill off that many key characters in a book, but this is a savage world and this book is very realistic. People die. Sometimes horribly, sometimes by murder, and sometimes through grief. There are some biblical and literary themes throughout both volumes. Biblically, there are certainly the constant references to Paradise and Eden. Just as in the Genesis account, or in Milton, there is a serpent in paradise. Aaron is one serpent, the weirdness of the planet is another. Aaron plays the role of Oedipus and Cain both. Shangri-La refers to James Hilton's famous book, and yet in this Shangri-La, people do not live forever. There is the concept of the starship Geographic resembling a Noah's Ark certainly, and the fact that Earth no longer contacts them lends itself to the story of Noah, no one is left but the residents of Tau Ceti 4. This book is more than just a good story well told. It is a realistic look at what the human race can accomplish in regards to moving beyond our planet and it presents the very real obstacles we will be faced with both in the alien world and within our own souls. I highly recommend this book but with a strong caution due to the sexual content. These two books cry out for another sequel, and another. I really do not see why they have fallen out of print, expecially considering the success that Allen Steele is having with his Coyote series. There is a market for realistic books about settling alien worlds. Niven, Pournelle and Barnes have a great idea going here and we need more. According to the link to Barnes&Noble below, the book will be re-released in August of this year. That is good news. search.barnesandnoble.com/Beowulfs-Ch... en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beowulf's_C...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Darth

    I was at like 2 1/2 on this, and I would usually round up not down, but something about this really rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe just a let down feeling after liking the first one so much. It started out with lots of my LEAST favorite things in sci-fi: POLITICS. It is a tiny group of people, light years from Earth, most of the people are under-aged, and the leadership cannot keep things in order... A bunch of teens and barely 20-somethings run amok and cause problems, but in a very boring and pro I was at like 2 1/2 on this, and I would usually round up not down, but something about this really rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe just a let down feeling after liking the first one so much. It started out with lots of my LEAST favorite things in sci-fi: POLITICS. It is a tiny group of people, light years from Earth, most of the people are under-aged, and the leadership cannot keep things in order... A bunch of teens and barely 20-somethings run amok and cause problems, but in a very boring and protracted manner. Honestly it would have been much more interesting if the book would have had a little introduction and started at Part 2 - GRENDELS. The whole SURFS UP suburb struck me as so unlikely. The malcontent underage crowd is into heavy construction too? Ummmm... Okay... I still think the premise is great, and there were a few interesting bits, exploring the new world and figuring out some of the cycles of the planet / sun and the local flora and fauna - but this was mostly not as interesting to me personally as I had hoped it would be. I found myself frequently doing other things before going to bed instead of reading, just because this was not drawing me back to it. It says Niven on the cover, so I was gonna read it - but this wasnt among my faves.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bekibunny

    Suffered from the same cliched social interactions as the first one. Not enough Grendels and world exploring, too much in-fighting and superman Aaron. I'm a speed reader and I found myself flipping past all the human social boring stuff to get to the parts about Old Grendel. Someone should do a fanfic edit of this and have it just be Old Grendel; she was the most interesting part of the book, and honestly, the only character I had any emotional interest in. The first one (Legacy of Heurot) was bette Suffered from the same cliched social interactions as the first one. Not enough Grendels and world exploring, too much in-fighting and superman Aaron. I'm a speed reader and I found myself flipping past all the human social boring stuff to get to the parts about Old Grendel. Someone should do a fanfic edit of this and have it just be Old Grendel; she was the most interesting part of the book, and honestly, the only character I had any emotional interest in. The first one (Legacy of Heurot) was better because it was all about the grendels and you could basically ignore the ludicrous pop-psychology that the authors indulged in. So, if you like Grendels, read this for Old Grendel and skip all the inter-generational 'dominance games'. I'd like to see Larry Niven be forced to co-write with a woman one day, just so he can find out how shallow and stereotypical his portrayals of the gender are. I love the science in his work, and grew up reading Ringworld and The Integral Trees, but gawd, his female characters are just terrible. But grendels are awesome and should have more books written about them!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rusty

    This is an exciting read about a group of bright and highly intelligent earth explorers who settle a world they call Avalon which has creatures beyond what they ever experienced on earth. The most feared is the grendel and the survivors finally settle on an island they name Camelot where they manage to kill all the grendels. As the colony expands, the population divides into two groups - The Star Born and the original colonists. As the intergenerational conflict escalates, Cadmann finds his lead This is an exciting read about a group of bright and highly intelligent earth explorers who settle a world they call Avalon which has creatures beyond what they ever experienced on earth. The most feared is the grendel and the survivors finally settle on an island they name Camelot where they manage to kill all the grendels. As the colony expands, the population divides into two groups - The Star Born and the original colonists. As the intergenerational conflict escalates, Cadmann finds his leadership in the colony challenged by Aaron, who emerges as leader of the next generation. The Starborn manage to convince their elders that the mainland needs to be colonized. More surprises await the group as the variety of grendels increase (beaver grendels, snow grendels, and the more traditional river grendels)and unknown causes of death occur. More colonists of both generations are lost. I liked the story very much and recommend it to those who like fantasy/science fiction.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    The first book (Legacy of Herot) I really enjoyed, for many reasons which I won't go in to here so you can imagine my eagerness to get my hands on this the sequel to it. I will have to admit I didnt enjoy the book as much as I did the first. Yes the book did carry on chronologically from the first book in that it dealt with the colony and the generation that followed on. It also dealt with the characters some more favourably than others - which I think is why i didnt take to the book as much as I The first book (Legacy of Herot) I really enjoyed, for many reasons which I won't go in to here so you can imagine my eagerness to get my hands on this the sequel to it. I will have to admit I didnt enjoy the book as much as I did the first. Yes the book did carry on chronologically from the first book in that it dealt with the colony and the generation that followed on. It also dealt with the characters some more favourably than others - which I think is why i didnt take to the book as much as I had hoped for. Yes its logical and its part of the plot but it does not mean I enjoyed having my prejudices and nicely formed preconceptions changed on me. However I did like how the logical evolution and its ecology, which built up to form even more weird and wonderful creations and how eventually the story came to what may not be a conclusion but certainly a resolution.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Beowulf's Children is the Sequel to The Legacy of Heorot, the settlers think they have figured out the planet and the next generation is ready to take over, they think, and the planet has some deadly surprises for them..... Beowulf's Children is the Sequel to The Legacy of Heorot, the settlers think they have figured out the planet and the next generation is ready to take over, they think, and the planet has some deadly surprises for them.....

  14. 4 out of 5

    A.R. Davis

    The sci-fi emphasizes exobiology and the attempt at a utopian human colony on the planet Avalon. The planet comes alive in the description and the characters are interesting. But, how did three separate authors blend this all together? Very good.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Neil

    This is a sequel to The Legacy of Heorot and takes place about twenty years later. It moves at a good pace; it is still interesting to read and still held my attention. The character development is also well done in this book. I hated a portion of the ending, but it definitely added to the story despite being so heart-breaking. I also liked how one of the 'major characters' had some pretty impressive character development [despite coming from such an unlikely source]. There is a lot of free sex This is a sequel to The Legacy of Heorot and takes place about twenty years later. It moves at a good pace; it is still interesting to read and still held my attention. The character development is also well done in this book. I hated a portion of the ending, but it definitely added to the story despite being so heart-breaking. I also liked how one of the 'major characters' had some pretty impressive character development [despite coming from such an unlikely source]. There is a lot of free sex and sexual situations throughout the book; part of the justification is that as STDs have been 'abolished' there are no longer any sexual taboos [or any need for sexual taboos] and anything goes. It kind of reminded me of an updated 'Brave New World' scenario set on another planet. It is also a book about young people coming of age in trying to define who they are on an alien planet, of parents having to come to terms with their children growing up and supplanting them, of parents having to let go, of exploration and growth, and relationships between people. The book has very little, if any, religion in it [other than a 'home grown' religion created by some of the second- and third-generation colonists]. It does reference religion in passing; it is done so in a very negative fashion, especially in reference to the colony's 'modern, open' view toward sexual promiscuity. I definitely do not agree with this view toward sex outside of marriage; despite their views [and occasional sprinkling of Bible verses in the chapter headings] they still discuss how these open sexual relationships have, for better or for worse, affected the colonists and their progeny. It seems to me that despite their espousing sexual freedom amongst consenting adults the authors actually make a case for monogamy and sexual abstinence. On a side note, the edition I read was a 'first edition' and I could not believe the number of typos and mispelled words throughout the entire book. It was really bad in the first couple of chapters, but it did get better by the end of the book. Whoever the editor was should have given back their fee, considering the number of typos. The authors did a great job expanding upon the environment introduced in the first novel. They created a fascinating planet that was interesting and dangerous at the same time. The colonists definitely had to be on their guard at all times and respect the unknown dangers the planet presented [which was easy for them to do on a regular basis]. The Grendels which featured so prominently in the first novel still have a part to play in this story; they have not yet been relegated to the dust heaps of forgotten story lines. The colony has rapidly expanded is population to around 500 people. They identify themselves as two groups - the Earth Born and the Star Born [those born on the planet]. We learn that the Earth Born suffer from Hibernation Instability, which is caused by water in the blood freezing into crystals [especially in the brain] each time the travelers were thawed out and refrozen during their two-hundred year journey to Tau Ceti. The Star Born alternate between despising their parents and feeling sympathy for them due to HI as the two groups attempt to co-exist on Camelot [their island home conquered by the Star Born in a vicious battle with the island's original inhabitants in the first novel]. They also train up the younger generations, instilling within them the dream of living in harmony on Avalon [the name of their planet orbiting Tau Ceti]. The Star Born wish to form a colony on the mainland, exploring what they see as their birthright. The Star Born suffer from living in perpetual fear - fears of the past, fears for their children, fears that they can no longer be trusted to make decisions individually or collectively, and fears they will no longer be needed by the Star Born. Inbetween the novels, the colonists attempted to accelerate the colony's population via bottle babies, but natural childbirth soon proved to be enough to create a viable population. The Bottle Babies eventually formed their own clique in the midst of the larger clique consisting of the Star Born. In addition, the leader of the Star Born, Aaron Tragon, has instituted a cult of his own which appears to 'worship' the Grendels [the very same beasts that nearly wiped out the original colonists in the first novel]. The environment on the island is changing - the lack of Grendels is allowing species to return to the island that have been missing for years. The changes spur the Star Born's desire to explore while making the Earth Born leery of embracing the various changes in a positive light. A mine exists on the mainland through which the colony is able to acquire much of what it needs in terms of minerals and fabricated materials; something damages the mine. Sabotage is ruled out; a team is sent over to investigate in conjunction with a camping party. The team investigating the damaged mining equipment dies a horrible death. The camping party returns to the mainland, unable to explain what happened to their family and friends. Discussions ensue and the Star Born want to return to the mainland. Some want revenge, some want to better understand their planet, some want to repair the damaged mine and find out what happened to cause the equipment to become damaged in the first place. The Earth Born do not want to move as fast as the Star Born and decide to wait. The Star Born do not find this to be amenable, so they attempt to create a fake hurricane to hide their stealing various equipment to journey to the mainland and set up the colony they had dreamed about. Two of the colony's de facto military leaders make it to the stolen dirigible and regain control of the craft. Unfortunately, one of the Star Born bottle-babies dies in the process. Because of the death of Toshiro Tanaka and the accompanying guilt, the Star Born get what they want. They are able to form a colony on the mainland and explore as they have desired for quite some time. Everything goes great, setting the group up for the mother of all Avalon Surprises [which is a term the colonists use for whenever the planet throws something their way that causes problems and surprises them at the same time]. The Star Born expand across a large portion of the continent, exploring and taking samples and capturing specimens as they attempt to learn more about their birthright. They also face off against a coordinated attack by a group of Grendels in a fashion that is very impressive. Their defense is so coordinated and so overwhelming that it helps the Earth Born to begin to see their children in a new light - as adults and worthy of the heritage that has been unwillingly passed on to them. They did not ask to come to this planet, they did not ask to be born on this planet, but they have accepted the dream of their parents and have modified it to become their own dream. There is some crazy character development in the book. There are various alpha members vying for control [some intentional, some not so intentional] of the Star Born. There are various couplings that continue to change as the young adults learn more about themselves and what it is that they want in life having reached adulthood. One of the leaders turns out to be evil to the core. There is also an interesting discussion about the pros and cons of bottle babies versus natural child birth. It was an interesting discussion because of how it talked about the natural cycles a woman goes through in terms of child birth and how it affects the baby in the womb and how a machine can never mimic or imitate the relationship between a woman and her unborn child. There was also another interesting discussion between a father and her daughter - they discuss the pros and cons of free sex with no entanglements and how the daughter has realizes that she wants something more than just whatever sexual experience she can have with any Tom, Dick, or Harry. The Avalon bees were the craziest, best part of the book, and the worst, most horrific part of the book. I will leave it to the reader to discover them and how they affect the colonists. Old One was amazing. I loved the character development Old One went through, especially considering I never saw it coming the first time I read the book. I have enjoyed it each time I have read the book; I felt, in retrospect, that it only makes sense. The Scribes were incredible. I enjoyed reading about them. The environment was amazing, the planet was amazing, the creatures and their interactions were amazing. The relationships between the Star Born and Earth Born as well as amongst the two groups were well-thought out and well-described. The amount of sexual promiscuity in the book was somewhat laughable, regardless of how hard the authors tried to justify it. I think the Earth Born had some of the best lines in the book, especially when they were ripping on the Star Born [especially the kaffeeklautsch from Surf's Up] in regard to their actions and their attitude[s]. Overall, I greatly enjoyed the book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Neil

    I think this might be one of those books I will continue to enjoy no matter how many times I read it. It still moves at a decent pace; I still find myself wishing some events had turned out differently; the planet is still a crazy, exciting place for the colonists, and the authors have managed to instill some ‘real’ horror into the mix as well. I thought it had good character development, too, for that matter. It held my interesting until the very last page. I do wish the authors had written a t I think this might be one of those books I will continue to enjoy no matter how many times I read it. It still moves at a decent pace; I still find myself wishing some events had turned out differently; the planet is still a crazy, exciting place for the colonists, and the authors have managed to instill some ‘real’ horror into the mix as well. I thought it had good character development, too, for that matter. It held my interesting until the very last page. I do wish the authors had written a third book in this series that specifically follows and expands upon the ending of this book. On a side note, one Avalonian year is approximately sixteen to seventeen Terran months in length. This makes it interesting at the beginning, where the ages of various characters are given in both Terran years and Avalonian years. Well, interesting from a trivial point-of-view, anyway. Hahahah! It is ‘funny’ how I never noticed some of the ‘mistakes’ before in the book when I first read it (and maybe the second time). There are several typos where words are misspelled (in that other ‘real’ words are used (such as ‘brief’ instead of ‘grief’), and these misspelled words cause the sentence to no longer make sense). This happens more than once throughout the book. Also, Katya Martinez goes from having long flaming red hair (48) to long black hair (88) (unless, of course, she dyed it, which the book never says she has ever done in the past). Another error is how Hendricks tells Carlos that he (Hendricks) arrived in Skeeter XI but Carlos starts up Skeeter XII instead to pick up Cadmann before going after the Second Born (182). On an abstract side note: it is weird – the authors talk about a Minerva being lost during the Grendel Wars (269). Huh?!??!? When did that happen? There were only two Minervas mentioned in the first book, and both of those lifted to safety during the Grendel Wars (unless there were more ‘wars’ after the events in the first book). In this book, it directly implies that more than two Minervas are still in existence and used by the colony. Perhaps there were more Minervas in ‘storage’ aboard the Geographic and were eventually unloaded over time? it just made me wonder if either other “Wars” occurred during the time between the two books or if the authors merely forgot what they had written in the first book while writing the second book. Having finished the book, I still find myself wondering how many Minervas are still in use by the humans on Avalon. It never says, but it implies that there are more than the two mentioned in the first book. Obviously, at least three (one of which is destroyed) and possibly a few more beyond two. This is a crazy book, that is for sure! It has two generations of humans striving to figure out the future of humanity on this planet. Most if not all of the First Born have been genetically and physical damaged from the long-term suspended animation during their one hundred-year voyage from Earth to Tau Ceti whereas most of the Second Born appear to be geniuses in their own right. The First Born left Earth expecting to be conquerors of Avalon and discovered they were not nearly as capable as they believed themselves to be in the first book. In this book, the children have clearly surpassed their parents in most regards and are chafing at the bit to do what they want without having to listen to the First Born or follow their rules. So, the novel is about youngsters ‘coming of age’ and becoming adults on an alien planet; you have rebellion, insubordination, the “youth” having to prove themselves to their parents and leaders, exploration, love, lots of sex, colonization, “terraforming,” death, thrills, chills, excitement, horror, and mystery. There is quite a bit going on in the novel! The Second Born want to be seen and treated as adults whereas the First Born are reluctant to see them as they truly are. (view spoiler)[Sadly, it takes a ‘long-term’ expedition to the mainland for the adults to see that their ‘little children’ have, indeed, become adults and can hold their own, for the most part, on the main continent of Avalon. (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[It is interesting, but despite the amount of uninhibited ‘free sex’ and changing of partners that occurs in the book, a conversation between a father (Carlos) and his daughter (Katya) makes it sound like the authors are pushing for and supporting monogamy and marriage. It was an interesting conversation between the two of them, as they discuss her future and the man she believes she wishes to whom she wishes to commit herself and with whom she believes she wants to make a new life (318 – 321). It is an interesting conversation in that she discusses at length her feelings for Justin and what she wants from him, with him, and hopes he feels for her in return. She comments on the fact that with sex having become so commonplace and ‘meaningless’ that if feels like something is missing to her, that there should be ‘something more’ in terms of relationships and intimacy. This conversation with her father seems to dovetail an earlier sexual experience she has with Justin (88 – 89) in which the authors “end” it with what appears to be subconscious thoughts of both parties asking Isn’t there a part, a place, a tiny lone voice somewhere deep inside that asks if this couldn’t, shouldn’t, can’t mean something more? That looks into the eyes of each and every partner, and asks, in its own way . . . Are you the one? (89). I thought it was both interesting and powerful (for both parts, that is) that the authors discuss a topic of such importance like they do and in the way they did it. I thought it was well done and helped make the story more than “just” some kind of lust-laden fairy tale with zero consequences for one’s actions. (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[Aaron was the craziest character in the book. He is built up to be a veritable Adonai who ends up having feet and legs of clay as he has a ‘serious, final’ mental breakdown of sorts. His hero and idol, Cadmann Weyland, is “finally” revealed to have feet of clay, and this revelation is apparently devastating to Aaron to discover. Not only that, but Aaron, for some reason, believes he must kill Cadmann in order for his (Aaron’s) plans to come to fruition. As if that wasn’t odd enough, but Jessica chooses to side with Aaron after it has been revealed that Aaron has likely killed her father. It created some serious issues that could not be explored further due to whatever happened next. He is originally presented as supremely strong and knowledgeable and the apple of everybody’s eye, but this apple turns out to be rotten to its core as he lets the worst parts of his personality and character take control and ruin the day. Bad enough he is willing to sacrifice friends and loved ones to see his dream, his vision, fulfilled, but he oversteps many boundaries in an attempt to see his will be done on Avalon. At the end, though, he has become a type of shaman as he has died to himself and his “Grendel god” and serves at the leisure of Old Grendel, having learned how to communicate with her and co-exist peacefully with her. He is a changed man, a broken man, when he is ‘found,’ and he will ever eve be the same again. I really wish the authors had written a third book! Hahahah! I did love how Aaron made a fool out of himself when it came to the color of the Scribe’s skin versus the color (and diagrams) of the Cadzie Blue blankets the Second Born had to take with them everywhere they went on the continent. He had cut off a chunky sliver of the Scribe’s lip and brought it back to camp, laying it against the blue blankets hung out to dry. The animal’s skin was not the correct color or tone or shade of blue. It was easily fixed, however, and pretty self-evident once one of the “slow” adult revealed things to Edgar to explain why it was the color of blue that it was. Still, though – Aaron making a fool out of himself was pretty priceless and should have told him he needed to work for another year before attempting to climb the mountain to the peak to acquire the information that he sought. (hide spoiler)] I thought the authors did an interesting job with the various relationships and ‘changing patterns and forces’ over the course of the book. You have people who start out in one group and end up in another group; some people remain in the same group the entire book. Some people start to change groups but then end up staying with their family group. These changes and shiftings before coming to a final ‘setting’ makes for interesting reading, as one is never quite sure who ahs a hidden agenda over the course of the story. Not only that, but I felt the authors did a ‘good job’ describing the struggle between the ‘younger generation’ and the ‘older generation’ in terms of exploring the planet and the younger generation being treated as adults if not ‘equals’ with the original colonists. There is definitely a tension and struggle as the Second Born struggle to find their niche in a society still dominated by ‘brain-damaged’ adults who, at one point in time, were all geniuses in their own right. There were some epiphanies on both sides throughout the book, as the First Born realized how much they had been holding their children and grandchildren back because of their fears and their desire to protect their progeny from danger. The Second Born come to realize that maybe there was and is some validity to the structures their parents put in place and that maybe their parents are not as incompetent or enfeebled as they believed them to be. It was also amusing to see that the Second Born had their own ‘sets of rules’ for their ‘colony’ on the mainland. I found this funny because they despised all of the rules the First Born had in place, yet they themselves instituted rules and procedures that had to be followed by anybody wishing to join them on the mainland. So, here were these “youngsters” complaining about the rules and procedures and ‘whatnot’ their parents had put in place on Camelot, yet they themselves would go on to institute their own rules and procedures in conjunction with those put in place by the First Born while on the mainland. I loved the ecology of the mainland, the new undiscovered environment! It was amazing! (view spoiler)[I loved how there were Grendels that worked together in harmony, building dams and also helping to care for other Grendels, Grendels from other ponds or bodies of water. That was pretty amazing! I also liked the spider monkey devils; those were some crazy creatures! Especially how they could “sing songs” that would lure their prey into a torpid lethargy until it was too late. The ‘scene’ with the Snow Grendels was amazing. I especially loved Cadmann’s discussion of the video footage back on Camelot. He points out how their children took out seven or eight Grendels and compares this feat with the original colony. In the early stages of the colony, one lone Grendel nearly whipped out the entire colony and nearly killed Cadmann in the process. Here, the tables have been turned and the Grendels end up dying (at the cost of one human life). These Grendels had also learned how to act in concert and set aside ‘their differences’ in order to hunt the prey that was before them (i.e. – the Second Born and their flocks of animals). The bees on speed was pretty crazy and amazing and thrilling and horrific. These bad boys were super-fast and super-carnivorous and “always” super-hungry. They could strip a human to its very bones within seconds, and this is what happens to the camp – due to increased solar flares and solar activity, the bees bust out of their homes and terrorize the landscape for an indefinite period of time. Once the Avalonian bees bust out of their former homes, they go on a killing spree as they eat everything in sight that is organic in nature. (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[I still hate that Cadmann died. I wish he would have survived. I also hated that Jessica died as well. I almost would have liked to have seen her end up with Justin, but that was not meant to be. The ending of the book (the last few chapters) are crazy-intense and intensely bittersweet. They also make me wish a third book had been written to carry on the adventures of these colonists on this brave, new world that has yet to be fully explored. I also found myself still enjoying the discussion about the “Bottle Babies” and how being born in a tube as opposed to a mother’s womb had adversely affected the children born in this manner. The discussion talked about how the “Bottle Babies” never “learned” or “experienced” that natural biorhythms that a baby in its mother’s womb experiences. As a result, some of the “Bottle Babies” seemed to have ‘something missing’ inside of them that the natural-born children had due to their natural births. It was an interesting conversation, to say the least. (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[The cover of the hardback still makes me laugh. I can only assume that is Cadmann carrying his grandson with Jessica and Justin on either side of him. Justin and Jessica look to be maybe thirteen or fourteen years of age in terms of Terran years when they are actually closer to twenty in terms of Terran years. I can only assume whoever designed the cover assumed the ages of the two siblings in Avalon years was Terran years. (hide spoiler)] It was a good book; it was a fun book. I know I have said something along these lines before, but the authors did a good job of knowing who should be where and then keeping track of it while they were writing their own stories. I enjoyed the various character insights and backstories to help provide greater depth to the various characters in the book. I would say the book is more about the Second Born than it is the First Born, even though the Second Born due come to respect the First Born as a result of what happens throughout the book. I was happy to find myself still enjoying reading it a fourth or fifth time.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Colleen

    The monsters in The Legacy of Heorot were bad enough. Now the colonists are on the mainland where there's a whole ecosystem adapted around grendels and the grown kids want to explore it. And there's a power struggle going on in the colony to see who leads the exploration. The first generation is too cautious and probably brain damaged from hibernation on the ship so who can really trust them. The second generation doesn't have the power, but they've got the curiosity and energy. And there are a The monsters in The Legacy of Heorot were bad enough. Now the colonists are on the mainland where there's a whole ecosystem adapted around grendels and the grown kids want to explore it. And there's a power struggle going on in the colony to see who leads the exploration. The first generation is too cautious and probably brain damaged from hibernation on the ship so who can really trust them. The second generation doesn't have the power, but they've got the curiosity and energy. And there are a few of them, produced by the ship's artificial womb, who appear perfect but seem to psychologically damaged from not having a close bond to one family. Even the second generation isn't sure about the perfect Aaron's motives. And then the coal mine blows up on the mainland and they have to repair it if they want plastic to replace worn machinery. Meanwhile, on the mainland, the grendels seem to be cooperating. Intelligence? This tale is superbly creepy. And it's got a surprise ending. Brilliant alien ecosystem based on 'speed'.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Charles Harrison

    For a book which gripped me as much as this one did I finished it feeling somewhat underwhelmed. I think it is because it peaks too early. After the climactic confrontation around halfway through the rest of the book seems to be waiting for the social stuff to run its course and for a half decent biology explanation. The ecosystem is amazing but it felt more like an essay than a novel in places. The interspersed Grendel bits seem a little fanciful and slow things down a lot. A wonderful bit of w For a book which gripped me as much as this one did I finished it feeling somewhat underwhelmed. I think it is because it peaks too early. After the climactic confrontation around halfway through the rest of the book seems to be waiting for the social stuff to run its course and for a half decent biology explanation. The ecosystem is amazing but it felt more like an essay than a novel in places. The interspersed Grendel bits seem a little fanciful and slow things down a lot. A wonderful bit of world building and I would like to know more about it (and what happened on earth) but a synopsis will do next time!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Todd

    This is a vastly different book from its predecessor - not that there's anything wrong with that! But while the first book had everyone pretty much acting in believable ways, there are a number of times in this book where someone either acts wildly out of character or in a completely ridiculous manner and this seems to increase as the end nears. The main thrust of the plot and the ecology of Avalon detailed in this book is fascinating, but it wasn't enough to overcome my issues with characteriza This is a vastly different book from its predecessor - not that there's anything wrong with that! But while the first book had everyone pretty much acting in believable ways, there are a number of times in this book where someone either acts wildly out of character or in a completely ridiculous manner and this seems to increase as the end nears. The main thrust of the plot and the ecology of Avalon detailed in this book is fascinating, but it wasn't enough to overcome my issues with characterization.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tim Meechan

    Somehow the first group of settlers forgot to tell the next group that they were all going to die horribly....okay that’s not completely accurate, but I am using a little sarcasm here as I felt that a second expedition would have been better prepared for the dangers than they seemed to be in this follow up to “The Legacy of Heorot”, where all hell broke loose when the colonists discovered the true nature of their local habitat. Great concept and a fun read. The worlds, beings, and ideas of Niven Somehow the first group of settlers forgot to tell the next group that they were all going to die horribly....okay that’s not completely accurate, but I am using a little sarcasm here as I felt that a second expedition would have been better prepared for the dangers than they seemed to be in this follow up to “The Legacy of Heorot”, where all hell broke loose when the colonists discovered the true nature of their local habitat. Great concept and a fun read. The worlds, beings, and ideas of Niven are incredible. I hope you enjoy him as I have.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Erinn

    I found this to be an interesting read, so much so that I started trying to find the book that comes before it. However it didn't take me long to realize that the first book is out of print. What I think is the most interesting thing about this book is that years later I still find myself thinking about some of the things that happened in this book and the color blue. I found this to be an interesting read, so much so that I started trying to find the book that comes before it. However it didn't take me long to realize that the first book is out of print. What I think is the most interesting thing about this book is that years later I still find myself thinking about some of the things that happened in this book and the color blue.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    The premier, the best of the many collaborations between Niven and Pournelle with Barnes. A followup to _The Legacy of Herot_, this charts the aftermath of the first interstellar colonization as they expand. The rugged individualist, the types of protagonists that Heinlein created so well, are expanded by these authors. Strongly recommended.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tera Marie

    Aside from some editing errors that I found distracting (misspelled words, improper word usage), this book was fantastic. A continuatiion of the story of a group who have come from Earth to settle a new planet. We now here the story of the Star Borns and how they cope with being the first generation of children in this new world and the new challenges and dangers they face.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Israel

    Not a terrible story by any means, but the gratuitous sex was a bit overdone. Also it is hard to believe that such educated and intelligent folk as the First would allow such actions as committed by the Second. If the Second were older the story would make more sense, but I do have a hard time seeing teenagers being able to plan such complex actions.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    A novel about the process of colonization of another planet rather than the Aliens-like sci-fi horror story the first book was. Natural threats to the colony form a background, but most of the words deal with politics, the division between the first and second generation and soap opera-type teenage sexual drama. Readable and interesting, but not the frightening thrill-ride the first book was.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Pat Beard

    Excellent read but I just can't be enthusiastic because I didn't like the way it ended. Don't let this keep you from reading the book. The ending would likely be fine with others because it isn't a let down, or just a tie up of loose ends abruptly without logic, or any other tragic flaws that plague books. It is strictly an idiosyncratic dislike of my own. Sigh. Excellent read but I just can't be enthusiastic because I didn't like the way it ended. Don't let this keep you from reading the book. The ending would likely be fine with others because it isn't a let down, or just a tie up of loose ends abruptly without logic, or any other tragic flaws that plague books. It is strictly an idiosyncratic dislike of my own. Sigh.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Wetdryvac Wetdryvac

    Not nearly as solid as the first book in the series, reads rather as a contractual obligations book. Main flaws I found were in paired description sets timelining between, "What we arrived to see," And, "What we saw happening later," With minor inconsistencies. Not nearly as solid as the first book in the series, reads rather as a contractual obligations book. Main flaws I found were in paired description sets timelining between, "What we arrived to see," And, "What we saw happening later," With minor inconsistencies.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Andreas

    A peaceful offworld colony is attacked by beasts. Very exciting stuff. The second book is not quite as good, but still a great read. I thoroughly enjoyed these. Note: Beowulf’s Children was published in the UK as “The Dragons of Heorot”. http://www.books.rosboch.net/?p=1106 A peaceful offworld colony is attacked by beasts. Very exciting stuff. The second book is not quite as good, but still a great read. I thoroughly enjoyed these. Note: Beowulf’s Children was published in the UK as “The Dragons of Heorot”. http://www.books.rosboch.net/?p=1106

  29. 5 out of 5

    Brett Anningson

    This book started slow for me; and by that I mean about 2/3 of the way in it started to get interesting... then it seemed that the ending was rushed and not satisfactory... but it was still worth a read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bo

    It's just so hard to keep on trucking (read: establishing a foothold on an alien planet) when everything keeps on throwing rocks at you (read: most events foil even the best well laid plans). And as always: Tom Weiner performs sublimely. It's just so hard to keep on trucking (read: establishing a foothold on an alien planet) when everything keeps on throwing rocks at you (read: most events foil even the best well laid plans). And as always: Tom Weiner performs sublimely.

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