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The Gap Into Conflict: The Real Story (Gap, #1)
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The Gap Into Conflict: The Real Story (Gap #1)

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  7,581 Ratings  ·  325 Reviews
Author of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, one of the most acclaimed fantasy series of all time, master storyteller Stephen R. Donaldson returns with this exciting and long-awaited new series that takes us into a stunningly imagined future to tell a timeless story of adventure and the implacable conflict of good and evil within each of us.
Angus Thermopyle was an ore pira
Mass Market Paperback, 241 pages
Published July 1992 by Spectra (first published 1990)
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Mar 10, 2016 Gavin rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This was my second attempt at reading a Stephen R. Donaldson novel. My first attempt was way back in my teens when I picked up Lord Foul's Bane. My read of the first Thomas Covenant book went so poorly that I never even finished the story. I had loved the concept and found Donaldson's writing to be fairly engaging, but I was too disgusted with the character of Thomas to continue reading his story. It was my hope that The Real Story would have more of what I liked and less of what I did not. Unfo ...more
Apr 03, 2010 notgettingenough rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
3am. Surely the right time.

Call me completely insane, but I've agreed to read this (I wrote a few months ago)

....after a conversation that went like this:

Me: I hate Thomas Covenant
Noela: But you have to read the Gap series
Me: Huh?
Noela: It is about a girl who has the most appalling things happen to her. You read a bit, put it down thinking 'that's it! No more' but then you can't help yourself. You have to know what dreadful thing is going to happen to her next. You have to!
Me: Grumble, grumble,
Sep 10, 2007 Joe rated it it was amazing
The Gap really explores the cycle of hero/victim/villain. Between the first book and the last, the cycle has turned atleast twice, with the main characters exploring and fulfilling all the roles.

The Real story is a brutal book. No mistake, its a hard read. But between Donaldson's writing, and the compelling back story, it really sets the stage for a wider story. The characters do develop and change over time. This is a dark book, with dark characters, and is by no means a book that is intended f
Jul 25, 2012 Katie rated it really liked it
I will tell you what I don't like about this book right up front, to warn those who might wish to be warned: there's a LOT of raping and psychological abusing of the main female character. In fact, it's an essential element of the story most of the way through the book. I don't criticize the actual book for it, because it was necessary in order to tell this particular story about this particular man who was acting fully within his character to do such a thing. But it's still really unpleasant to ...more
Mar 22, 2012 Miriam rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I have been a fan of Stephen R. Donaldson since I read the Thomas Covenant Chronicles in the 70s. In this new series, the Gap Chronicles, Donaldson moves to science fiction from fantasy. Be warned, this is a brutal series to read (like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), but it is also a phenomenal study in character development. The first book is the most difficult, and really only sets the stage for the rest of the series. I read this series after it was completed so I was able to read it straig ...more
Dr. Barrett  Dylan Brown, Phd
Aug 18, 2008 Dr. Barrett Dylan Brown, Phd rated it liked it
Recommends it for: BDSM Peeps
Shelves: science-fiction
I found this on the street and thought it was a science fiction book... halfway through I decided I had stumbled into a perverse romance novel, than towards the end I thought it was sci-fi... now I'm not quite sure. It's not exactly romantic with all the rape and sexual torture so explicity described, but, well, I don't know. I liked it, but felt kinda dirty afterwards and I don't quite feel like reading the next book in the series. I'm kinda scared to be honest.
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Apr 25, 2012 Mogsy (MMOGC) rated it really liked it
Another recommendation from my husband, with the caveat that The Gap series can be a pretty dark and brutal read. I asked, "Dark and brutal like A Song of Ice and Fire but with spaceships?" His answer: "Actually, that's not such a bad comparison, in the horrible-things-happening-to-the-main-characters kind of way." So I picked this up knowing exactly what I was in for.

This first book, originally meant to be a standalone novella, only reads like an introduction to the three main characters. Howe
Oct 21, 2008 Stephen rated it liked it
Shelves: sf-space-opera
3.5 stars. Beginning volume of the very dark and gritty Gap Series. Excellent character study and hints of some very nice world-building. I will certainly read the next volume in the series though this book, on its own, was not spectacular.
Nov 24, 2015 Sumant rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, gap-cycle
This is got to be by far the darkest book I have read this year, because there were so much stomach churning scenes in this book that it gave me a feeling of watching a psychological horror movie like Misery. Also I was a bit skeptical reading Donaldson again due to the fact that Thomas covenant's first two books were a drag for me, but Donaldson sure has turned the tide in this book and has written some compelling stuff.

Some of the strong points of the book are

1.A compact story.
2.Hard to like a
Jul 05, 2013 Ethan rated it liked it
If this were a longer book, I'm not sure I would have finished it. There's an awful lot of rape and murder going on, and it's not always clear that it's serving the plot. The main character casually murders people by the dozen. In the middle of the book there are almost a dozen scenes in which the main character rapes one of the other major characters. This isn't described in excruciating detail, but it's stomach churning and probably makes this book something to avoid for anyone personally deal ...more
Kevin Brady
I like my fiction DARK.

There is no character in this series that isn't deeply, perhaps even fatally flawed. Donaldson is a master storyteller, well loved for his Thomas Covenant series. His science fiction is tighter paced, first-person viewpoints similar to Game of Thrones novels.

This story has it all for a hard-core science fiction lover. High tech, deep space, aliens that are distinctive and not humanoids, with very different motivations from ours. Blaster wars, derelict space-craft, pirates,
Jun 18, 2012 Shari rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This is my first Donaldson book to read. I finished it in just a few days, and it wasn't because it was short, but because there was something about Donaldson's narrative style that made me going. The story is pretty simple, told by a narrator who doesn't leave much room for the reader to judge, who gives little description to the setting, the era, and what humankind has achieved and reached thus far, and who concentrates only on what the "real story" is. And yet, the story was captivating. Ther ...more
Feb 12, 2014 Zade rated it really liked it
Donaldson can write like nobody's business and this excursion into space opera is no exception. It is fast-paced and intricately plotted. There are a few reasons, however, that I cannot give it five stars. First of all, the level of violence, particularly sexual violence, is off the charts. It's excruciating to read and there are scenes you wish you could scrub from your brain. This violence is not gratuitous--it is key to understanding the actions and thinking of the characters, but it is defin ...more
Oct 04, 2009 Johnny rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Not having picked up a Donaldson book since the second trilogy of Thomas Covenant, I was surprised to rediscover just how much I savor this author's prose. Reading his books is tantamount to Hannibal Lector adorning his meal with fava beans. I really feel like I get into the character's heads.

This book is essentially a science-fiction homage to Wagner's Ring Cycle, but it is considerably more than that. It deals with a cataclysmic love triangle, but it is considerably more than a soap opera or t
Joseph Michael Owens
I'm ready to roll when the rest of you guys are (Peter, Nick, Jack et al. & anyone else who wants to get in on a group read)!!

Apr 28, 2011 Andreas rated it did not like it
This is the first of the Gap series of five 5 novels, a grand space opera loosely based on the Nibelung Ring operas by Wagner (of which there is a synopsis at the end). A mere 184 pages, it is an idea piece that introduces three characters, and delves deeply into their psyche, especially that of the villain.

Donaldson’s space opera aspects are a constant mild annoyance, since he has taken the very worst of all clichés in the genre, without making even a token effort to be original. It’s like bein
Aug 07, 2010 Joy rated it it was amazing
Two men and one woman form a triangle composed of villian, victim and savior. But which person is which?

THE REAL STORY is the small-seed beginning of The Gap, one of the most hard-hitting sci fi series I've read. Powerful character archetypes find themselves on various sides of an ethical free-for-all. What can be justified when the goal is to keep humanity from being mutated into the enemy species?

I called it a series, but actually it's a 5-part novel, each book opening onto wider horizons than
Feb 17, 2017 Aventinus rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-finished
★ = Abysmal

(Disclaimer: Δεν τελείωσα το βιβλίο, το σταμάτησα στο 35%)

Ξεκίνησα να διαβάζω το The Gap Into Conflict: The Real Story στο αεροπλάνο για την Ελλάδα για τρεις λόγους:

1. Σύμφωνα με τις κριτικές είναι ένα πολύ βίαιο βιβλίο (yay for violence)
2. O S. R. Donaldson - σύμφωνα με αυτά που είχα διαβάσει - μοιάζει στον S. Erikson τον οποίο λατρεύω
3. Ήθελα να διαβάσω ένα gritty, dark SF βιβλίο

Συμφωνα με αυτά που διάβασα, το συγκεκριμένο βιβλίο είναι ανελέτηα gritty και σκοτεινό. Κάποιοι ανέφερ
Oct 23, 2016 Jon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I came into this one pretty free of any prior expectations, going only off of a set of solid recommendations from Redditors who praised the series as a well-written space opera. I was pleasantly surprised with a relatively straightforward story, propelled forward by Donaldson's strong prose and excellent characterization. After a few of the early chapters I peeked at the top reviews on Goodreads and was surprised to see that several reviewers indicated shock and disgust at where Donaldson went w ...more
Nikko Lee
Feb 08, 2011 Nikko Lee rated it really liked it
Why I read this book:
First, I have to admit to having read the 5th book in the Gap Sequence without knowing anything about the previous books years ago. What stuck in my mind was the tragic bonds between two of the leading characters. When a friend offered me access to her vaste Scifi/fantasy library I decided to start at the beginning with The Real Story.

My one sentence summary:

The Real Story explores the basic principals of interdependance between a damaged UMCP officer and the outwardly ruthl
Molly Ison
Mar 13, 2013 Molly Ison rated it liked it
3.5 stars - This is almost the best work of Donaldson's that I've read, and it has a lot of strengths that I don't find in his other works, but also many of the same weaknesses. Full disclosure - I quit on both Thomas Covenant and Mirror of Her Dreams because I found the writing style irritating and the imagined worlds facile.

The way that the story is laid out is for the most part, very clever and engrossing. Even though the apparent plotline and main events are laid out in the first chapter, t
Oct 22, 2013 Greg rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aaron Singleton
Feb 20, 2016 Aaron Singleton rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf, speculative-fic
This is the first book of the Gap series, Donaldson's foray into SF. For anyone who doubted he could write SF after the awesome Thomas Covenant series, this one silenced them. It is the story of Angus Thermopylae, Morn Hyland and Nick Sucorso. Angus and Nick are pirates and enemies while Morn is the daughter of a rich family. After Angus, master thief, preys on the Hylands and abducts Morn, Nick Sucorso feels the need to rescue her. From there things get complicated, and if you think you can pre ...more
Nov 18, 2010 Asher rated it liked it
This is my opinion on the entire Gap Series, not just the first book, which is by the weakest.
Indeed this is one those book series that grows better which each installment.
What seems to start out as a very shallow exploitationist space opera eventually turns into a rather
complex narrative with at least most of the characters gaining a third dimension somewhere when you least expect.

The most memorable experience i had during the reading of the series happened somewhere in book three or four, when
Feb 21, 2012 Christopher rated it really liked it
It starts with a brief summary of the story "everyone knows" -- what the general public assumed happened to the villainous brute, the beautiful space police officer, and the dashing pirate. Then it tells you the real story, which is... not the same story at all.

This is a tough read. The protagonist has terrible, terrible things happen to her, and Donaldson is a writer who seems to enjoy writing about nasty, vicious, horrifically flawed people... and they show up all over the place. On the other
Nov 28, 2015 CJ rated it liked it
I read this back in '99 but between travel and other things going on in my life, never really pushed on with the series, and since this is essentially just the prologue, I've missed most of the story. (I think I read half of the next book, but I only have vague memories of it.) My opinion then is the same as it is now... this is a dark, dark book about bad people... but my 16 years of writing and reading has tempered my opinion somewhat. Mr Donaldson taps into the darkest parts of a man's psyche ...more
D. B.
Sep 06, 2009 D. B. rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Thomas Covenant disciples, Wagner fans, people who get their kicks above the waistline
A short, disturbing read that might have been the science fiction equivalent of Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness if it was a little deeper. As it is, it's little more than a whodunit turned inside-out, telling the story of an abduction and a framing in a twisted kind of detached retrospect. Donaldson's writing style makes us feel like we're watching a security video as the events unfold, with the overall impression of a small, significant event in the past that triggers a larger sequence; this ...more
Jun 09, 2007 Emily rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: sci fi fans
Shelves: novels
Stephen Donaldson's "Gap" series is one my favorite series.

My father handed me the first one, saying, "This is full of violence and rape and you'll probably hate all the characters in this first book, but the story just keeps getting better."

He was right. The story begins with a space pirate attack on a police ship and the "rescue" of the last survivor on the police ship and concludes with the human race fighting the Amnion, an alien species capable of extreme genetic manipulation. Despite the
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 27, 2016 Jody rated it really liked it
Beautiful girl walks into space bar with one bad dude, leaves with another. There are rumors, and then there is the real story. This book is more of a prequel, and Donaldson uses it to continue his exploration of rape and impotent anti-heros. The next four books have Wagnerian sweep, unforgettable characters and the most terrifying alien race I've ever encountered. And the only thing more terrifying than THEM in these books are the humans. I was on the edge of my seat by the final pages of the 5 ...more
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Stephen Reeder Donaldson is an American fantasy, science fiction, and mystery novelist; in the United Kingdom he is usually called "Stephen Donaldson" (without the "R"). He has also written non-fiction under the pen name Reed Stephens.


Stephen R. Donaldson was born May 13, 1947 in Cleveland, Ohio. His father, James, was a medical missionary and his mother, Ruth, a prostheti
More about Stephen R. Donaldson...

Other Books in the Series

Gap (5 books)
  • The Gap Into Vision: Forbidden Knowledge (Gap, #2)
  • The Gap Into Power: A Dark and Hungry God Arises (Gap, #3)
  • The Gap Into Madness: Chaos and Order (Gap, #4)
  • The Gap Into Ruin: This Day All Gods Die (Gap, #5)

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