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Shadow of a Dead Star ( The Wonderland Cycle #1)

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  253 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
Seattle, 2078. The future hasn't been kind to the spirit of humanity; commercial obsession and technological fetishism rules the day, religion and belief has died screaming in the fires of war, and what remains is moral decrepitude. Life in the future is hard on the soul.

As an agent of the Industrial Security Bureau, Thomas Walken knows that better than anyone. His job is
Paperback, 356 pages
Published December 14th 2011 by Curiosity Quills Press (first published June 21st 2011)
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Jul 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Shadow of a Dead Star by Michael Shean is a dark, near-futuristic, science fiction novel that takes place in Seattle in the year 2078. The world is is different. The European War has set the civilization back but let technology advance. Old cities are deserted, except for the roving gangs that are out to rob you for what you have, including body parts. Civilized portions are patrolled by private police forces and somewhat overseen by the Bureau of Industrial Security. Thomas Walken works for the ...more
William Vitka
Jul 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's a dark, dirty future. And it makes for superb reading.

Michael Shean's 'Shadow of a Dead Star' is written with shades of Jim Thompson and Philip K. Dick, but it's unlikely you've ever immersed yourself in anything else quite like it. And even while sharing some tonal similarities with those great authors, Shean's work is not derivative.

The book begins as a gritty detective story, but after it has hooked its claws into you, the tale twists. Mutates. Goes in directions you'll never see comin
Nathan Yocum
Sep 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shadow of a Dead Star is a first rate cyberpunk thriller. Michael Shean creates a storyline and world as fully realized as Gibson's Sprawl Trilogy or Walter Jon William's Hardwired. A must read for fans of the genre.
Morgan Linden
Sep 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have had the pleasure of being a part of the 'process' for Shadow, beta reading among other things. Neither cyberpunk for crime are my usual tastes so I went in not actually expecting to enjoy the book, and the fact I really did is a huge point in the novel's favour, given it had major genre-preference hurdles to jump.

The main thread that grabs hold of any reader is the strength of the characterisation. From the conflicted protagonist to the side characters who manage to be morally bankrupt bu
Holly Full Moon Bites Book Reviews

May have slight spoilers.

In author Michael Shean’s novel Shadow of a Dead Star we meet our main character Agent Thomas Walken and a woman by the name of Bobbi.

Thomas Walken works for the United States Industrial Security Bureau in Seattle. The year is 2078. Religion and faith is a thing of the past and technology is the way of the world now.

With all that technology comes bad though, the stuff from Wonderland. It is Walken’s job to keep Wonderland stuff out of people’s hands. But his latest job,
Ian Caithness
Jan 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Science-fiction has often been disregarded as a sub-genre of fiction, a sideline to the mainstream literature that most readers will know and love. It comes as no surprise, given that most of the world's literary prizes such as the Man Booker Prize, the Costa Award and the Nobel Prize in Literature often go to "mainstream" fiction rather than to the lesser known sub-genres of literature. Science-fiction, however, has always had a cult following who find pleasure in the works of Iain M. Banks, Is ...more
Sep 18, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you're a fan of detective stories, but feel like every single one is the same as the one before, welcome to your answer. I'm not sure whether to call Shadow of a Dead Star cyberpunk, tech noir, or a crime thriller. What I can say without a doubt, is that it's wonderfully original! Ready to step out of that mundane pile of mass market crime novels? Grab a copy of Michael Shean's book.

Thomas Walken, our main character, isn't your typical lawman. His world is dark, gritty, and full of some of th
Tom Whalley
Jul 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Somewhere between the horrible Citizens United court case and realizing Google not only powered my search engine but also built my phone and browser, I stopped reading cyberpunk. It seemed irrelevant, really, to pick up books that were "what if the past tried to describe today" because they'd all skew more violent than reality. Cyberpunk was a genre, and I say was, that existed to point out if we don't watch out, we'll all be owned by corporations and kept under heel by militarized, private-inte ...more
Apr 14, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who like very dark fiction
Recommended to Katy by: NetGalley
Book Info: Genre: Cyberpunk/Science Fiction/Detective Noir
Reading Level: Adult

My Thoughts: This is a very dark book – the world in 2078 is not a nice place at all. Seattle has completely changed – what used to be a quirky and artistic place has been replaced with corporate sterility, only the Verge standing between the New City and the Old City retains any of the original charm.

The book was well-written with good characterization and a smooth plot flow, but for some reason I just couldn’t get
Sep 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, sci-fi
Shadow of a Dead Star by Michael Shean is grungy, slightly nihilistic, fabulously enigmatic cyberpunk at its best, painted in the hues fashioned by Philip K. Dick. The world inside the pages is screaming neon, ad driven, nanotech chic laid over top a seedy underbelly of dissipation.

The novel begins with Agent Thomas Walken investigating the arrival of contraband tech into the futuristic city of Seattle, just another corrupt excess imported from a place called Wonderland. But this routine bust tu
Red Haircrow
Nov 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Please see the note below regarding edition, which is primarily the reason why it took me longer to read and review this book than my average: I had an earlier edition that had many editing errors.

That being said, there was an edge to Shadows of a Dead Star, incorporating mystery and darkness, an eeriness that attracts you but creates a sense of anxiety so that you’re reluctant to look full on: for fear of what you might learn. Mood and tension was great, and main character Walken, was both symp
Icy Sedgwick
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shadow of a Dead Star is the first book in his Wonderland cycle, in a genre I can only describe as cyberpunk sci-fi noir.

Set in Seattle in 2078, Shadow of a Dead Star follows Industrial Security Bureau agent Thomas Walken. Walken is the grizzled, cynical hero who fights to keep black-market technology from making its way into the mainstream. When he intercepts a smuggled shipment of little girls hardwired as sex toys, he finds himself tumbling down the rabbit hole into a nightmarish world of syn
Apr 27, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Idealistic detective in future Seattle investigates children (supposedly) programmed to be sex toys and finds himself swept up in a scheme much, much larger than he supposes. The noir atmosphere is competently established and maintained, but there's a lot of gruesome death, gratuitous grossitude (the organlegging hospital, for instance) and the plot is centered on a deception of such baroque complexity that it really doesn't hang together. I didn't feel that the author established sufficient rea ...more
Tarrin Lupo
Aug 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book paints a pretty darn realistic future of government and corporate control of everything. The authors insight to the future is very believable and very well done. This book was a joy to read, and it keeps the reader entertained. You quickly find out that this conspiracy goes much deeper then "the dolls" and makes this novel impossible to put down. The ending was great, and I did not see it coming. Go buy this book!
J.A. Beard
Aug 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Good Book Alert Review (

Disclaimer: The reviewer was contacted by publicity personnel affiliated with the author, however, the reviewer purchased their own e-copy.

Shadow of a Dead Star
Author: Michael Shean
Genre: Science Fiction/Mystery
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Shadow of a Dead Star is gritty cyber- and biopunk mystery filled with tension and mystery.


Seattle, 2078. Civilization's soul is all but dead.War and terrorism has killed millions along with humanity's morali
You can find this review, along with others, at Bookish Ardour.

Shadow of A Dead Star is one of those stories I have to let simmer in my subconscious for a while even when I feel a need to speak about it straight away. There’s plenty of reasons for such a reaction, but I think this time for me it’s more about direction and how many unsettling visions were crammed into it.

I use the term crammed for there was a lot of disturbing images present, the idea of the sex dolls made from children being onl
Jul 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: indies, 2011-reads
Review also found at

I was provided a copy for review by publicity personnel affiliated with the author. This does not affect or influence my opinion in any way.

Shadow of a Dead Star shocked me. Not in a way that it was bad, but good. I didn’t know what to expect going into it really, and soon found myself reading a cyber-punk science fiction piece. This is a genre I don’t think I’ve ever really dived into, but may perhaps have to start looking at a bit more oft
Jun 04, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I suspect I'd be giving this book 4 stars if it had not ended so abruptly. I'll explain why I liked it in a moment, but suffice to say this book DID draw me in, which made it all the more disappointing when it ended very suddenly, more along the lines of the first episode in a serial than a standalone book. I was not disappointed in the actual content of the ending so much as the execution, which brings the reader to the climax of the story and cuts off without any falling action to settle the e ...more
Nina Post
Dec 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
Shadow of a Dead Star is a blistering cyber-noir dystopian mystery. The hero is Thomas Walken, an investigator with the Industrial Security Bureau. He's a company man, but reliant on his conscience and gut intuition, and desperately trying to stay true to himself in a city that tries to crush what makes us human at every turn.

He works in the New City of Seattle, where capitalism and technology have taken an amoral turn. State governments have been reduced in scope and power to the point where co
Webbweaver Reviews
Seattle, in the year 2078 is a much different place than what we would experience in 2011. The emerging world society that rules it isn't so farfetched that we couldn’t imagine it eventually being played out on our own time line. The social order of our future has been totally swallowed up by commercialism and all religions and belief systems have been snuffed out by a pervasively perverse hunger for a technology that feeds mans most lustful and sinful habits.

Thomas Walken, an agent of the Indus
Melysah Bunting
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I got to read Shadow of a Dead Star (Wonderland Cycle) By Michael Shean free via publicist, @PublicityPixie. It's a novel set in futuristic Seattle. Walken, an agent for the Industrial Security Bureau, finds himself lost in a world where tech is God, and people are going straight to hell.

Walken is on the case of three girls made into sex dolls, but these aren't just any AI in flesh. They hold a much deeper twisted secret. As Walken is forced to unravel their mystery he finds out more than he eve
Feb 15, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf, sci-fi, netgalley
Curiosity Quills Press provided me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.

Shadow of a Dead Star was my first foray into cyberpunk, which may be part of the reason I found the book so inaccessible. I think the larger issue, however, was the editing and writing. The editing was weak, showing massive issues with commas which frequently led to difficulty parsing a sentence and the necessity of rereading the sentence, sometimes several times, to understand what Shean was trying to say. Als
Matthew Boyd
Jul 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really didn't know what to think when I first decided to check out this ebook. I enjoy sci-fi and detective stories, but I was unsure if this one would live up to my standards.

In short, I was blown away.

Terrific, gripping story from beginning to end. Michael Shean does a truly amazing job at pulling you into the world he has created and keeping you there.

The writing is descriptive and within the first few chapters I could almost see myself there, hearing the sounds and viewing the futuristic,
This is a book I downloaded for free on Kindle. The premise and story are engaging. Walken a federal detective in a Seattle apocalyptic future intercepts contraband as it docks in Seattle. Three "dolls," bioengineered young girls for use in the sex trade, or so it seems. Walken is a western style hero. He is outside the established law, and he searches for truth and wants to help those who are victims. I usually don't go for apocalyptic science fiction, but this caught me.
Anthony Bellaleigh
Shean is not kidding... Dark, hostile, vicious, sexy and above all intensely thought provoking. It's like he's crept up behind Bladerunner with his prog-knife, stuck it in the back and twisted, hard. Enter at your own peril...

So black it goes beyond my comfort zone (which is the reason that I can't quite give it five stars: i.e. it's me, not the book)...

Try the sample chapters - if they light your fire then you're going to love it!
Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I highly recommend this book. Don't ask any questions, just pick it up and start reading. If you're like me you won't want to put it down, but you also won't want to finish it too quickly. When you aren't reading it you'll be thinking about it, and when you've finished it you'll still be thinking about it. I'm really glad I decided to read this one!
Feb 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is dark, gritty, futuristic sci-fi. A fast-paced detective thriller set in a dystopian future. The scary part is that it seems so plausible. The story just pulled me in so that I could not stop reading and I was completely blown away by the ending. Can't wait to see what direction the next book takes.
Ernst Vorndran
Mar 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book all the way to the last twist, which for me, was too rash. Still Shadow of a Dead Star is a brilliant read and a welcome change from the humdrum tween sci-fi and countless fantasy novels that is saturating the market.

If you love Sci-Fi, Cyberpunk or Noire or all of the above check out this cracking read.
Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read. In this gritty, fast, future-noir Book, Shean creates a world that is at once, vaguely familiar...and frightening. Enough familiarity to relate to, enough technology out-of-control to make the reader think.

If you enjoyed Philip K Dick's Blade Runner Books, you will like "Shadow of a Dead Star".

I will buy the sequel to this one.
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Michael Shean was born amongst the sleepy hills and coal mines of southern West Virginia in 1978. Taught to read by his parents at a very early age, he has had a great love of the written word since the very beginning of his life. Growing up, he was often plagued with feelings of isolation and loneliness; he began writing off and on to help deflect this, though these themes are often explored in h ...more
More about Michael Shean...

Other Books in the Series

The Wonderland Cycle (3 books)
  • Redeye (The Wonderland Cycle #2)
  • Gathering Ashes (The Wonderland Cycle #3)