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Fires of Nuala (The Chronicles of Nuala #1)

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  151 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
From the acclaimed author of Fire Sanctuary comes a fascinating novel of life on the poisoned planet of Nuala and its inhabitants' unique battle for survival. A brilliantly constructed world and an intricate plot that should appeal to male and female readers alike.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published December 1st 1988 by Warner Books (NY) (first published 1988)
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Oct 08, 2010 Estara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of the Liaden, Atevi and Crystal Singer books
This was just such a lovely discovery of a great space opera book by an author I had only read fantasy (with an alternate history twist) of before.

It's a gripping story centered around two protagonists, one the clever outsider female planning the ultimate heist (for Robin Hood-like purposes furthermore, although Darame certainly wants her own share of the proceeds), and one the very competent, healer-gifted scion of a royal family-equivalent who never expected to be thrust into a role of promine
Sherwood Smith
Oct 03, 2010 Sherwood Smith added it
Shelves: sf, bvc
Now offered at Book View Cafe as an e-book, this space opera/mystery is just as much fun to read as it was when it first came out.

Kimbriel has created a fascinatingly complex culture in the Nualans, who have adapted to a dangerously radioactive planet. This is the kind of space opera I love most, with larger than life characters, interesting cultures, culture clashes, romance, action, and just enough intriguing threads left dangling to promise further explorations.

Darame is a con artist, but she
Deborah Ross
Mar 06, 2011 Deborah Ross rated it really liked it
In this second "Nuala" novel, Kimbriel takes us to the distant past with an entirely new set of characters. Nuala began as a scientific colony left to shift for itself against terrible dangers. The foremost of these is the constant mutagenic threat posed by the planet's radioactivity. Kimbriel posits that intelligent people have found creative survival solutions, not only as a colony but as individuals, but with the inevitable clashes in values. What serves society as a whole may not ensure indi ...more
Laura (Kyahgirl)
4/5; 4 stars; A-

I really liked this book. It is the first book I've read by this author. I'm not sure how to classify it as there are elements of fantasy as well as sci-fi. It guess its mostly 'soft' sci-fi, where the emphasis is on social aspects as opposed to scientific.

I loved the female protagonist in this story, Darame, as well as Mailan, Avis, and the many other strong female characters. The plot was interesting.

The only weakness in the book was that I thought it was pretty hard to follow
Jennifer Stevenson
Nov 14, 2010 Jennifer Stevenson rated it it was amazing
Great! I read this one and the next one in one gulp, over two days. over 1000 pages and I LOVED IT! Classic royal intrigue SF plus adventure plus romance, nom nom.
Mar 24, 2016 Beth rated it really liked it
Finished this at 2 am -- then bought book 2.

Interesting set-up & complicated political system. Just have to get past food changing dead hair color universally on your body. Apparently permanently -- otherwise she'd have polkadot eyebrows & body hair.
Feb 25, 2013 ala rated it it was ok
Shelves: scifi
2.5 stars...
Surprisingly, I am disagreeing (and I almost never do!) with the lovely and discerning Estara Swanburg so please refer to her review for a second opinion.

Have you ever been on a date where the guy/girl does something that turns you off early in the evening and then little mannerisms, ones you would overlook in any of your friends, start to drive you completely up the wall? The initial turn-off act doesn't even have to be that big -- maybe something unintentional and completely und
Katharine Kimbriel
Sep 30, 2010 Katharine Kimbriel added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: SF readers, SF/Romance readers
Recommended to Katharine by: I wrote it!
I was adding the e-book edition to Goodreads' communal memory, and then this review box pops up! Well, what I learned from this edition is that it is not easy to make a visually appealing e-book. I had to remake one of the maps, since I still haven't found the original that was copied to go in HIDDEN FIRES, another Nuala book.

But in preparing the book for its new edition, I was reminded all over again what I was trying to examine back when this book first came out -- who are we, at rock bottom,
Connor Kennedy
Nov 09, 2014 Connor Kennedy rated it liked it
Fires of Nuala has been with us a long time; published in 1988, rereleased in 2010 and hit Audible in Dec 2013. I was intrigued by a plot that includes assassinations, political intrigue and the promise of both mystery and action. Also, one of the main characters is a beautiful woman who is a con artist.

I found that I had to put in many long hours before the book became interesting and had trouble identifying with the characters. Way too perfect. Overall, not as exciting as I had hoped, but the
Chuck Rezac
Sep 02, 2014 Chuck Rezac rated it really liked it
This is the best of the Nuala novels. The hallmark of the series is excellent world building and character development. In this novel the characters are complex and their backgrounds diverse. And the interesting aspects of the story develop from the way the author rams characters and worlds together. You get just enough world building to set the character without lots of unnecessary description. Kimbriel doesn't just tell a story or fill a page with words; she writes, and does it very well here.
Patrick Haga
I had a hard time getting into this book at first, but after a while things started to liven up a bit and I started to enjoy it. The world that she creates is somewhat interesting if a tad cliche. I'll probably end up reading more of the stories set in Nuala but to be honest it didn't excite me the way other recent reads have...I will say this, after the slow start it did keep me reading, so for entertainment value alone this wasn't a bad read.
Katharine Kimbriel
Oct 11, 2015 Katharine Kimbriel rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Did you like Pern or Darkover? Then you should try Nuala!


"Ms. Kimbriel once again catches our fancy with a subtle and complex plot, weaving an intricate socio-political structure from an imaginative premise."

---Rave Reviews (4 Stars)


---LOCUS Magazine

"I will wager that once you finish this one, you will go searching through the bookstores for the first."

---Thrust Magazine
Kanzeda Crenshaw
Dec 27, 2010 Kanzeda Crenshaw rated it liked it
It was not easy for me to get past chapter three in this book. I picked it up and set it down at least a dozen times before it took. It's a decent story and I find Nuala a very interesting world. If you like sci-fi for the world building, you will enjoy this book. I found the characters a bit flat and the story rather formulary.
May 19, 2016 Christine rated it it was amazing
This was a fantastic book! Very well written with the perfect amount and balance of action, mystery and political intrigue. A hint of romance and a dash of an interesting culture and this is by far one of my favorite books to have read this year. I'm very excited to read the sequels to it. I'm certain that they will be equally as good.
Aug 09, 2015 Lyns rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Great story of dealing with different cultures, a bit of a scam, a mystery and a strong female protagonist. It reminds me of the strong characters in McCaffrey's Dinosaur Planet and Tower and Hive series.
Lavenia Otts
Sep 16, 2015 Lavenia Otts rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Exciting, action-filled

I really enjoyed this book and will be joining this author's Amazon page so I can be kept informed of new books. This world of Nuala is exciting and fantastic as are the characters in this story. Highly recommend reading if you enjoy sci-fi.
Feb 07, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it
Read this years ago in the late '80s/early '90's for a science fiction book group I belonged to for a while. I remember that I enjoyed the who series, but at this point I'm a little fuzzy on the details!
Peter Murray
Sep 23, 2011 Peter Murray rated it did not like it
I received this book as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. Based on the ER description it sounded interesting to me, but after several starts over several months I have to say that this story isn't working for me.
Elizabeth Burton
Apr 04, 2012 Elizabeth Burton rated it it was amazing
I don't give out five-star reviews on a regular basis. The main criterion for a book's earning one is that I had to drag myself away to tend to things like work and meals and bathroom breaks. Nuff said?
Jun 10, 2011 Scythan rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
The story was overcomplicated, requiring a great deal of thought to unravel the roles every character played in the plot. The book was well written, though, and the characters were realistic.
Linda Johns
I could not put the book down when I read it years ago. I still re-read it along with all of her other books.
Susan rated it liked it
Aug 10, 2015
Shan rated it liked it
Jun 06, 2013
Chip Howell
Chip Howell rated it it was amazing
Mar 10, 2014
LaDawn rated it really liked it
Jul 28, 2009
Carolyn rated it really liked it
Jan 06, 2009
James Beggerly
James Beggerly rated it it was amazing
Aug 04, 2015
Deirdre rated it really liked it
Apr 17, 2016
Joann rated it it was amazing
Jul 15, 2014
Beverly rated it it was amazing
Feb 04, 2008
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In the beginning Katharine Eliska Kimbriel was nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New SF/Fantasy Writer. Katharine’s work has long straddled the line: “too literary to be commercial, too commercial to be literary” – she has a list of itinerant occupations to prove it.

Published novels include the historical dark fantasies NIGHT CALLS, KINDRED RITES, and SPIRAL PATH. On the science fi
More about Katharine Eliska Kimbriel...

Other Books in the Series

The Chronicles of Nuala (3 books)
  • Hidden Fires
  • Fire Sanctuary

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