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Pirates of the Thunder

(Rings of the Master #2)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  929 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Hawks had refused to help the ambitious Lazlo Chen in his quest to find the five gold rings that could break Master System's hold over humankind -- and that refusal had landed him on the deadly prison planet Melchior.

But when Hawks and some fellow prisoners engineered a bold escape, it seemed almost too easy. Hawks guessed that Chen was pulling the strings, but he couldn't
Paperback, 306 pages
Published February 12th 1987 by Del Rey Books
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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 ·  929 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Chalker at his best (or worst, depending on your opinion). The rag tag (or perhaps not so rag tag) crew who escaped from the asteroid prison and stole a massive, ancient colony ship from the last volume now head out of the solar system looking for contacts and booty. They rename the ship Thunder and basically become pirates, hence the title. The crew, led by Hawks, now begins their quest to obtain the five rings and hence the ability to shut off the Master System. The question is, how can they m ...more
May 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
After a slightly slow start this picked up to be a decent read. It was similar in quality to the first book. Fast paced pulp sci-fi with some cool technology.

The slow start can be blammed on the fact that the first 15% of the book was spent with the characters recapping what they had done in the first book. That would have been great if I'd read the books a year apart, but since I went straight from the first to the second it left things a bit dull and frustrating.

This picks up where we left o
Harold Ogle
Recommendation: this is a good continuation of the series. If you liked the first book, you will probably enjoy this one, too, though some of the ways the story develops may surprise you, and the book ends on a cliffhanger rather than reaching any kind of resolution.

Review: Broadly, this does still feel like "Blake's 7," but the differences that were minor in the first book are growing larger and larger over the course of this narrative. Pirates of the Thunder starts right where the previous boo
Ingrida L
Garsaus JAV fantastikos rašytojo J. L. Chalker nauja "Žiedų valdovo" versija. Skirtumai - žiedai paslėpti skirtingose planetose, juos surinkus bus galima nugalėti superkompiuterį, kuris valdo žmones. Šioje knygų serijoje yra 4 knygos, deja, iš karto įšokau į antrą - teks skaityti iš naujo ir iš eilės. Bet bent viršelis knygų iššūkiui 2022 tiko - nupiešta planeta. ...more
Jul 05, 2022 rated it really liked it
I am really loving the journey of these characters. Hawks and his crew might have started out as a rag-tag band of somewhat nobodies, but they are developing into a seasoned group that even Ocean would be proud of. This sophomore entry into the Rings of the Master series deals primarily with the aftermath of the group's escape from the prison Melchior, their attempt to trust each other and come up with a plan, and work with Star Eagle to rework the giant ship into one they can use, all while kee ...more
Ian Massey
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Yeah - not enjoying these book as much as I remember from first time round. Maybe with greater maturity comes more criticism.

This, the second of four, doesn't really move the series on much at all - at the end of it, the renegades still have none of the five rings they are looking for, but have gained allies. Allies that, it seems to me, are more there to show how much the Master System has changed various member of humanity for its own purposes.

Reading this, I couldn't help but think of Blake's
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
For a four-book series, this book still felt like more set-up than questing. I have ordered the two remaining books used online, so I can read them at my convenience, rather than requesting them via ILL.
May 26, 2017 rated it liked it
The follow up to "Lords of Middle Dark". It's a totally different kind of book. But still the author comes up with a unique story, and totally bizarre tech and worlds. It's bizarre, but it all fits together in a way that seems totally believable. Now the primitive cultures are in space. Good read. ...more
Enjoyable, but it didn't make much progress with the plot. Setting the scene for what comes next I guess. ...more
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Still waiting for the 12 days of Christmas reference. At least in here there was a Fellowship of the Ring(s) reference, a popular book at the time.
Alger Smythe-Hopkins
Fitting neatly into a genre of dystopian SciFi novels where an evil overlord is challenged by an unlikely band of misfits, this series rethinks and expands the SkyNet premise of the Terminator franchise and mixes it up with the Asimovian Laws of Robotics to land in a place that feels familiar while also being a well rounded universe with some unexpected but logical inflections. The rationale behind the expansion of humanity as controlled by the Master System is a remarkable invention, but one th ...more
Feb 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Just saw this series and it has been years but I was in the mood... so a marathon re-read of the series ensued... and it was fabulous!
We start out many years in the future... Earth is under control of Master System, a computer. The population has been culled, changed, the universe seeded with our oddly changed descendants, and what is left on Earth has been reduced to limited populations of racially distinct groups isolated in area as well as era.
Each generation any who have the potential to cha
Allen Dodd
Jul 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing

My review for "Pirates of the Thunder": “Don’t judge a book by the cover” I’m told, but that’s what I did many years ago with this one and it was a good choice. This was the first “real” out-of-high-school book I can remember purchasing. I was at Safeway and saw it on the rack and decided I’d give it a try, because it “looks” cool. Well, it was great, but I had to stop a couple chapters into it and go to the book store to find the book before it in the series so I knew how the story began (Did
Brian Turner
Jun 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
3.5 stars
Following on directly from Lords of the Middle Dark, Hawks and the other escapees from Melchior have managed to find a deep space ship.
Now they have to try and avoid Master System while searching for clues to the location of the first ring that could be its downfall.

Mostly concerned with them finding more people that could help, there's a bit less action and more discussion going on in this book, although it still moves at a decent pace.

Adds a whole bunch of new characters with differen
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this entire series of books. I have read, and re-read the series, worn out a half-dozen paperback copies, and have my current paperback copies inside of shrink-wrapped bags. Now I enjoy the series on Kindle and Audible.
This series, along with many others, is part of the literature that shapes my own writing, world building, and character generation. Mr. Chalker, thank you for creating such a wonderful series of books.
Mar 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
In this book, our heroes make it out into deep space. They make contacts among the freebooters, a community of space pirate types who fly under Master System's radar. Our heroes have some successes, including stealing some stuff they need and visiting a few planets, but their real quest for the secret gold rings hasn't yet begun. I'm really enjoying reading these again. Can't wait to move on to book 3!

::edit:: reread in October 2014
Feb 24, 2015 rated it liked it
The renegades no running and hunting for the five gold rings that will end their slavery to Master computer who has tight hold on all the planets. This was a book two of The Rings of the Master and was good read. Looking forward to reading Book three: Warriors of the Storm.
Kevin Driskill
Jun 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
I found this series after I got hooked on Chalker and it is now one of my favorites. This is a series I was sad to finish. There is in these books such depth of creativity that it is staggering. The possibilities are endless and this takes you on the ride of your life.
May 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Best book of the series by far. Excellent sci-fi, good action, good drama, and good look at the "big questions", which is always essential for sci-fi.

Fantastic, and I recommend the series to anyone who can find it.
The gathered have made plans and found allies. They are being sought and there is no room for a single error. One slip or loss of a member may be the end of the task in taking on Master System.

Great storyline. So many tangents in keeping the tale interesting.
Ray McCarthy
More like an episode than a standalone book. Is it a publisher thing? Should the four books be one volume? Seems curious that the second book of four ends without recovery of the first ring!
Sep 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jun 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Book 2 in the series. Find it! Read it! :-)
May 02, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This isn't the greatest sci-fi series but has some nice twists. I would recommend to any sci-fi fan. It is easy to tell that it was written in the Star War era of the eighties. ...more
Aaron Anderson
See what I said on "Lords of the Middle Dark". ...more
Jul 28, 2010 rated it it was ok
I started the series at this book, not great but by no means awful. Definitely dated science fiction, but the commentary on human nature still applies.
rated it liked it
Apr 15, 2014
Onyx Eyez
rated it really liked it
Oct 06, 2015
Mark Rayfield
rated it it was amazing
Nov 22, 2018
William Whalen
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Jun 14, 2019
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Besides being a science fiction author, Jack Laurence Chalker was a Baltimore City Schools history teacher in Maryland for a time, a member of the Washington Science Fiction Association, and was involved in the founding of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society. Some of his books said that he was born in Norfolk, Virginia although he later claimed that was a mistake.

He attended all but one of the W

Other books in the series

Rings of the Master (4 books)
  • Lords of the Middle Dark (Rings of the Master, #1)
  • Warriors of the Storm (Rings of the Master, #3)
  • Masks of the Martyrs (Rings of the Master, #4)

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