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Anvil of Stars

(Forge of God #2)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  6,195 ratings  ·  219 reviews
The ship of law was made of the fragments of Earth's corpse, a world in itself, cruising massively close to the speed of light, hundreds of years from the dust and rubble of home...... ...more
Kindle Edition, 489 pages
Published April 29th 2014 by Open Road Media Sci-Fi & Fantasy (first published 1992)
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Dirk Grobbelaar
This direct sequel to The Forge of God is as far removed from its predecessor in tone and content as could possibly be. The concept of the 'Law' is fascinating, made more so by the enigmatic nature of the Benefactors. Many questions that are raised throughout the novel are left unanswered and the morality of decisions is open to interpretation. This plays an important part in what makes this novel work on an emotional level.

At first, I didn’t quite get Anvil of Stars. The sexual politics, calle
Paul E. Morph
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is that rare beast; a sequel that's significantly better than the first book.

To be fair, it's a sequel that is also SO different to the first book that it almost doesn't feel like a sequel at all.

There's no way to describe the premise of this book without spoiling the ending of the first one so I won't bother. I'll just say that I found the premise much more interesting than the first book's and the world building (or should that be galaxy-building?) much, much better.

There are superficial
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
So... since I think I'm getting fired tomorrow because I can't put up with people's bullshit,(it may or may not be the best thing that ever happens to me), I decided to go to some comfort food and review my favorite book ever: Greg Bear's Anvil of Stars!!!

There are spoilers ahead, so please dont read this if you haven't read the first book: The Forge of God. That's the slow and painful story of how Earth gets wiped out by an intelligence that pretends to be benign, but is anything but. This is
Bryan Alexander
Sep 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, space-opera
The sequel to Forge of God is a remarkably powerful, dark novel. Anvil of Stars is one part space opera revenge tale and one part meditation on violence, social dynamics, and extreme power imbalances.

The plot concerns a ship full of young people, assigned to exact punishment on the villains from the first book, aliens simply known as The Killers. Much of the first 2/3rds of Anvil is concerned with exploring this microcosm of human society. Bear sets out dozens of characters, most notably three l
unsung classic: This little-appreciated book is Greg Bear's best, in my opinion. Science Fiction it may be, but its themes are as adult and rigorous as any book in any genre. It is also very well written.

An air of melancholy and despair - as well as barely suppressed terror - carries right through from start to finish, as befits the situation set up in its predecessor, The Forge of God. Bear does not shirk the philosophical implications of the story he is telling. The humans and aliens caught
Peter Tillman
Reread. Holds up pretty well, and the braided Brother aliens are a remarkable creation. Sexy stuff, hmm. Well-written and well thought out book. I didn't much care for the ambiguous ending. A good book, but not up to the first (by long-ago memory).
Feb 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
When I was reading the first quarter of this book, I began to get bored. Reading about the "children" train, slick and simulate was like watching a sloth climb up a tree. The narrative tells a lot of things and nothing at the same time. To make it worse, the dialogues were flat and disjointed. The children sounded like they had too much cold sleep. I was ready to give up and abandon the book, but I thought, "This is a Greg Bear work! Remember Eon? Darwin's Children?" I decided to read ...more
Rick Powell
Nov 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Perhaps less tight in terms of structure than Forge of God, this sequel has at its center a deeply moral conundrum: How far do we take the Law? What does vengeance do to our souls? Vibrant, detailed and believable psycho-sexual social milieu and of course, dizzying hard sci-fi exposition, plus a moving, powerful theme, maybe even more relevant now post-9/11 than it was in 1991. Highly recommended.
Oct 28, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Slow start. Almost abandoned before 50 pages. By 100 was reasonably confident I wasn’t wasting my time.

Turns out to be a fresh, original science fiction, and once Bear gets going his storytelling is good, the opening nearly put me to sleep.

Good, hard science fiction; good character building; good plot.
Storyline: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Writing Style: 3/5
World: 5/5

Rarely have I come across a sequel that so surpassed its predecessor. And I liked the predecessor.

Book one was nicely self-contained; I didn't feel that I had to read on in the series, but seeing as I had enjoyed the first, I was happy to do so. Book two is also nicely contained. The very brief, straightforward prologue - numbering 300 words or so - sums up what one needs to know in order to read Anvil of Stars. Thereafter Bear moves forwa
Oct 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Better than its predecessor, highly imaginative concepts.
Feb 26, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
"Anvil of Stars" sequel to "The Forge of God".. - just the titles alone are enuf to make me wary.. BUT, that sort of thing is par for the golf course of black holes in SF - so no biggie.. In other words, the title is so rotten-cheese-ball that many a sensitive literary type might avoid it.. BUT, I liked this bk. Bear's plots are GRANDIOSE. I vaguely recall reading that he & Greg Egan are 2 of the main 'hard science' SF writers (or maybe that's just what I thought at some point or another) - mean ...more
Fred Hughes
Dec 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book continues where The Forge of God ends off, which is the aftermath of the destruction of most of Earth and its inhabitants.

Taken from the destruction by a superior race called the Benefactors a large group of children volunteer to find the race that attacked Earth and destroy them using technology supplied by the Benefactors.

The Benefactors have supplied them with a massive ship and guidance in the form of robots that the children call “Moms”. After 5 years flying at near the speed of l
This sequel is completely different from The Forge of God. The earth has been destroyed, most of the few survivors have been settled on Mars, and a small group of children/teenagers are sent on a mission of revenge to destroy the makers of the killing machines. I had a hard time getting into the story and found myself starting to skim--never a good sign. About halfway through, it picked up and I liked best the part that dealt with the "Brothers", an alien species that the humans team up with. Th ...more
Pete Harris
Aug 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
This blew my mind when I read it, which I did before I read the first one (Forge of God), but it didn't suffer from any lack of context, standing alone perfectly well. I think it's a better book, with a huge concept and deep, dark themes. I suspect Greg Bear had Anvil of Stars in mind as a destination when Forge of God was being written, because the first book is more or less a setup for the much more interesting and horrifying story that follows.

I say horrifying, and it is, on multiple levels.
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read for the Space Opera 2019 Challenge.

Wow, what a stunning book!

I was thoroughly enamoured of the prequel to this, The Forge of God. I thought it was a brilliantly written apocalyptic epic, full of twists and turns and intrigue and enough scientific mystery to keep anyone with even a hint of interest in science fiction satisfied. I saw a lot of reviews that said the second book was better, and I scoffed.

I was wrong. This is a work of brilliance that I'm not sure people truly understood at the
Jul 22, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic, if completely unexpected follow up to "Forge of God." The former was a hard-sci fi look at how the world might end if the Earth were destroyed by killer-probes from outer space. This book follows a group of young survivors who were rescued by a mysterious race of benefactors at the end of "Forge." They are given a technologically advanced space-ship and a mission -- eradicate the race that destroyed Earth.

"Anvil" becomes a hybrid of "Ender's Game," "Speaker for the Dead" and "Lord o
Jun 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Forge of God was incredible. This doesn't necessarily pick up where it left off, but it's the sequel. A very different book from Forge. The science fiction is good, the writing isn't terrible - Bear manages to sustain a fairly consistent and growing atmosphere of tension and uncertainty throughout. The ideas are engaging and the world building is solid. The first half, however, I struggled completely to identify with the characters in any meaningful way. Other things I disliked: that it had ...more
Aug 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 26, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really like The Forge of God so I thought I'd try Anvil of Stars. Mistake! I really didn't think this was very good. It was heavy going and I nearly gave up a couple of times in the first 100 or so pages, but ploughed on in the hope it would get better, but it just seem to plod along. It would have helped if I liked some of the characters, but none of them came out and grabbed me. I really couldn't get any feeling for them. This book is a perfect example of not knowing when enough is enough. ...more
Ryan Kirk
Man, this book.

I actually finished this book a couple of weeks ago, but I've been waiting to write a review until I've had time to sit with it.

Here's the thing: I think this is a great book, but I personally didn't like it. I've been thinking about this quite a bit, and I think I've got it mostly figured it out.

Typically I like to separate what I like and what I didn't, but everything is kind of interconnected here, so I don't think that's going to work.

I think a huge problem for me was expectat
Mike Franklin
Jul 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
The earlier book, The Forge of God, sets up the base conditions for this sequel but there the resemblance ends. The Forge of God takes place almost exclusively on Earth as mankind tries desperately to protect their planet from the ‘Killers’’ planet destroyers. Now the children of the survivors are out for revenge. The entire feel of the books shifts from apocalyptic to space opera, from a bleak vision of destruction to an unabashed examination of morals.

However, though very different, Anvil of
Simona Vesela
Jan 25, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have bought this book not knowing that it is a second in the series. It can definitely be read on its own.

The scope of this book is quite large. I like how the world building, the choices or futuristic technologies, the story telling and character development was very good.

It starts out kind of slow and clunky though. I don't know if it is because I did not read the first book, but there are some unpolished edges in there, in the dialogues. But I devoured the second half, it was so good.
Mark Rabideau
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this to be an excellent series. This the second in the 2-book series was every bit as entertaining and thought provoking as the first. If you remember your philosophy, you may remember Hugo Grotius and his theory of a "Just War". This novel most certainly explores the ideas contained therein...

I guess after this series, I can officially claim that I am a fan of Greg Bear's writing/ novels.
Oct 17, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Only if you read the prequel and have a high tollerance for depression
Plot in a nutshell: the "Benefactors" who rescued a couple of arks
full of humans from Earth in prequel "Forge of God" have loaded 85 teens and young adults onto a highly advanced space ship, given them some robots for training, and assigned them the task of carrying out the Law which states that any race that creates automated planet killers must themselves be eradicated. Martin, son of one of the main characters from "Forge," is the protagonist.

What I liked about the book:
* It does a better
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Almost nine years after reading Greg Bear’s The Forge of God, I have finally read its sequel, Anvil of Stars. Fortunately, it is not a tightly coupled sequel. In other words, while the plot events are a consequence of what happens in The Forge of God, there is no character continuity – and a reader could plausibly read it as a stand-alone. The Forge of God was a mediocre book, but if you are a fan of Greg Bear’s brand of hard sf, you should read them in order. I will expose no spoilers to Anvil ...more
Samuel van Deth
Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Samuel by: Edwin
Compared to the prequel (the Forge of God) this book is in a complete other league, or galaxy if you will.

Bear really nails it in getting you in that spaceship and dealing with all the stuff that would blow any humans mind. Bear's great creativity in coming up with complex environments, technologies and civilizations is fantastic. He can actually make you think it might very well be scientificly possibile and that those worlds are actually out there somewhere.

That said, the book is far more abo
Like the prequel, this book revels in doom and gloom. The characters are children on a trip to enact vengeance for the Earth's destruction. Most of the book is them on their way, fucking (which they call "slicking") and bickering and training on useless weapon-ships which they don't end up using. There's some crazy girl who has religious visions for some reason.

The only redeeming part of this book is when the rag-tag team of human kids teams up with some aliens. The creativity that goes into the
Quite a bit less impressive than Forge of God. Bear's exploration of future/alien technology based on real-world science (no warp drives or instant interstellar communication) was intriguing, but the overall plot was much less compelling. An interesting effort, but Bear seems best when he sticks to stories grounded on earth. ...more
May 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
The conclusion to The Forge of God is a completely different book. Narrowly focused upon the children who seek to avenge the destruction of the first book. I struggled to get into the dynamic of this story at first... and then it drew me in. And then it hooked me with its fantastic and nuanced conclusion.
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Greg Bear is one of the world's leading hard SF authors. He sold his first short story, at the age of fifteen, to Robert Lowndes's Famous Science Fiction.

A full-time writer, he lives in Washington State with his family. He is married to Astrid Anderson Bear. He is the son-in-law of Poul Anderson. They are the parents of two children, Erik and Alexandra.

Other books in the series

Forge of God (2 books)
  • The Forge of God (Forge of God, #1)

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“The fox speaks with the hurricane and says, “I need to travel far and fast. Can you take me?” The hurricane regards the puny fox with its huge, calm eye and asks, “What can you do for me?” “Why, I will let you whisper your dreams to me.” “But I must kill whatever I carry. You are a living thing and do not wish to die.” “If you do not kill me, I will listen to your inmost self, and tell all the animals, that they may feel sympathy for you.” “What do I care for sympathy? I am all-powerful.” “Yes, but someday, your winds will die, and my kits will tell this tale even when you are gone, of the time great-great-great-grandfather fox was carried by the winds and lived and learned their secrets.” “But then they will not be afraid of me, and what good am I if I do not inspire fear?” “Oh, no living thing could ever be so strong they would not fear you. I give you something more. I give you a voice throughout time that is more than a wordless bellow of rage.” 3 likes
“rendezvous with the robots after a fast” 0 likes
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