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The Man in the Tree

3.01  ·  Rating details ·  128 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Rapid-fire storytelling from start to finish! Greg Bear

Humanity s last hope of survival lies in space but will a random death doom the venture?

Our planet is dying and the world s remaining nations have pooled their resources to build a seed ship that will carry colonists on a multi-generational journey to a distant planet.

Everything is set for a bright adventure and then s
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published September 12th 2017 by Tor Books
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Average rating 3.01  · 
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Dec 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Generation ships have been back in vogue lately, as three major works have appeared this year to apply contemporary social and scientific theories to the classic subgenre. Sage Walker’s The Man in the Tree is unique among them, in that it is a murder mystery set prior to the ship’s launch, rather than following the journey itself.
The story follows Helt Borresen, the Incident Analyst of the generation ship Kybele, who is assigned to investigate the suspicious death of an outside contractor named
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths.

A murder mystery wrapped in techno science fiction trappings, The Man in the Tree is an elegantly crafted tale of a future where mankind’s main hope of surviving ecological disaster is to send its people out into the universe.

The year is 2029. Earth has been decimated by world-wide ice melt; rising sea levels swallowing huge portions of the continents. The catastrophe causing huge portions of the remaining land to turn into arid wastelands. The only arable land
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Video review here:

This is a science fiction novel with a murder mystery plot. The action takes place on the Kybele: a planned multigenerational seedship that will soon launch from Earth, to hopefully find another planet where humanity can take root. The ship is about to leave; the last work crews are scheduled to depart, the final members of the team and the lottery winners are coming on board... and then a man is found dead, hanging from a tree, in the park wilderne
Anne Worth
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
I'm currently about 25% through the book and not sure I'm going to continue. The world building is fascinating -- how the society is structured and how they know they will have to change as hundreds of years pass -- but I am unexpectedly creeped out by the main character. Other reviewers describe this as a "love story" but at this point the main POV character has spent at most an hour or two talking to his love interest. Perhaps it would be more correct to say "his obsession." He instantaneously ...more
Oct 05, 2017 added it
Shelves: dnf
Abandoned at 21% I loved the worldbuilding but the story needed a bit of a push.
D.L. Morrese
A guy falls, lands in a tree, and is pronounced dead. Is it suicide? An accident? Murder? If it's murder, it's the first one ever on this space habitat, which is carved out of an asteroid that is intended to become a multi-generational space ship. It's an interesting and fairly plausible setting, which pushed my rating up a star, and since the story is a whodunit, I had to finish reading it to find out, well, who done it. I was tempted to give up on it many times along the way, though.

Several th
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, sf
A heavy duty, non-violent and somewhat slow paced police procedural set in a generation ship about to launch. Decent characters with a bit of light romance thrown in lighten the reading. The philosophy of governing a generation ship is covered as part of the plot and this is a bit novel. If you like SF and police procedurals, you will probably enjoy this book, I like my mysteries a bit more hard-boiled.
Sep 12, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm honestly puzzled what the "breathless plots" (James S. A. Corey) or "rapid-fire storytelling" (Greg Bear) from the blurbs on the cover are referring to, because this book is at best a slow burn and at worst painfully, glacially slow. I'd place it somewhere much closer to the latter than the former, but it's not all bad. The idea of a murder mystery on a generation ship is cool and what piqued my interest in the first place. But the execution was really, really slow, often painfully so. I'm a ...more
Dec 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: People yearning for a fascist love story, with spaceship
There are three genres at work here:
A sci-fi novel envisioning what an interstellar seed ship fashioned from an asteroid might look like;
A fairly old-fashioned drawing room mystery, where the ship is the drawing room;
A mostly-cozy romance, where "cozy" is librarian jargon to describe romances lacking anatomically detailed sex scenes. A true cozy typically leaves off where the clothes start to loosen and the lights go out and picks up again with breakfast. This one has a little teensy bit more de
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Review originally written for my blog

I received this as an ARC as I’m a big fan of generation ship stories and just had to read it. When I saw that this was one right before it launched, I was incredibly interested as most stories in this theme are either building it or way after the launch when a lot of information has been forgotten.

This book starts not long before the ship is due to depart, however a man has just been found dead and one hour of security camera footage is missing around the ti
The year 2209 on the seedship Kybele, where Helt Borresen, the Incident Analyst, must find out who, was responsible for the death of one of the ships inhabitants. Constant twists and turns, and layers upon layers of plots, will keep the reader involved until the last page.
Oct 19, 2018 added it
I could not get into this one. Did not finish.
Joe Bailey
Oh my God! This was a tedious read. A murder investigation set on a generation ship getting ready to leave orbit. One of the most boring procedurals I’ve ever read. Why I even bothered to finish it, I’ll never know! I kept on waiting for something exciting or interesting to happen. Nothing! Avoid!!
Robert Brown
Mar 20, 2018 rated it liked it
"The Man in the Tree" is a murder mystery in space! Really, there's a bunch of futurism, advanced tech, and a generation ship preparing to leave earth, but the story is really as simple as "well-intentioned but amateur detective investigates a small-town murder." There are many parts of the novel that make it enjoyable as Helt tries to find out who murdered a man that was due to be shipped off the colony ship within a few days, but the ending was a little dissatisfying. During the course of the ...more
Alison Culhane
This book was not what I expected. It is set on seed ship that is nearly ready to leave Earth forever. However, a death sends the leaders of the ship in a bit of a spiral to figure out why/how it happened before the ship leaves. I was expecting more science fiction, but this book ended up being more of a whodunit style book. There is also a weird romance that is part of the whole plot. And the ending? Meh. What it does do well is show how cultures and societies are built and that human nature wi ...more
Mar 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
I only read 30 pages. I was bored so I stopped.
While the story has its negatives the overall writing was excellent. I like stories about relationships and that's what this entire story was about. The protagonist's job is discovering potential conflicts between groups and resolving them.

This is a murder mystery that is very similar to Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express Instead of a train stuck in the snow we are inside a hollowed out asteroid being prepared for use as a starship.

The murder mystery aspect was very well done oth
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Man in the Tree
by Sage Walker
Sage Walker created an adult real life mystery. Her idea of a future when man plans to reach out into the universe, in a utopia society of exploration and intelligence. The participants of the venture have spent years developing and changing their new home to be habitable. They sponsor the best, create lotteries to enable the best to get a chance to leave a dying earth. But all their fore thought, all their planning could be disrupted by the death of a man in a
J.C. Ferguson
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This novel kept me reading until 4 AM. As I said in my last post, science fiction can be almost any type of story. This one is a murder mystery, a romance, a generation ship story, a psychological thriller, hard science fiction, and much more.

The seed ship Kybele is almost ready to leave Earth after years of building and preparation, when a man is found dead in a tree. Helt Borrensen, the ship’s incident analyst is assigned the job of special investigator to determine if the death is suicide or
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If you enjoy an extremely well-crafted mystery, this is a book for you. If you enjoy techno SyFy, this is a book you will REALLY enjoy. World population has been decimated by global melt with habitable land only viable in what used to be the polar regions. In hopes of surviving as a species, man has terraformed a large hollowed out nickel-iron asteroid to serve as a multi-generation colony ship. Days before departure, the man in the tree, initially diagnosed as a suicide, presents authorities wi ...more
"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound and is it murder?"

A man is found dead in a tree and no one saw or heard what happened is it suicide or murder?
A slow burn, too slow, run of the mill murder mystery. This was not a scifi book but a who dunnit, not a very good one.
Nothing exceptional or original except the murder happened inside an asteroid.
Yes an asteroid.
Took way too long to get to the end with a disappointing conclusion.
100 pages shorter would ha
Jun 27, 2019 added it
Shelves: could-not-finish
DNF'd at about 30%, so no rating. The story was slow and dull, and writing mediocre at best. And maybe the main character was meant to be a total sleaze, but it was awful being in his head. There was no way I could have done it for a whole novel.

I had a lot of thoughts about what kind of horrible society was eventually going to develop on the colony ship with men like the MC in charge, but I didn't finish the book and as far as I know the ending was rocks fall, everyone dies (which would be the
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
Not bad.

I'm not much of a fan or connoisseur of whodunnits, but it felt capably executed. I loved the backdrop and setting. And that, much more so than the murder mystery kept me reading. The overlong and oft-repeated descriptions of the protagonist's love interest/murder suspect got boring and trite really quickly though. That, and the fact that 80% of the book is red herring, strands the book at a barely passable grade.

Shame, because it feels competently written. I should look up something els
Andy Pond
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I can't say enough good things about this book. It's terrifically well-written, the science is fascinating, the whodunit is compelling, and the plot is propulsive.

The protagonist is sympathetic, forceful but confused. The love interest is well-done, and there's a looming sense of doom for the couple. You'll have to read it it find how it all plays out.

I wish this author had written 20 novels. I'd read them all.
May 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Science fiction murder mystery. As a generation ship prepares to set off from Earth, one of the crew is murdered. The setting is fascinating and well-depicted, but the mystery itself lags, especially when the author shoehorns in an unconvincing romance subplot that complicates life for our hero and his investigation. After a brisk opening, the story gradually decelerates to finally end in a sudden rush that resolves all with little excitement. Disappointing, after such a strong start.
Jun 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got this book from a subscription box service and it ended up being a great fit. The Man in The Tree is listed as sci-fi, but it rolls in a murder mystery, political intrigue, and a little romance. The only part I could have done without was the constant description of Helt’s feelings about Elena.

The story wrapped up pretty nicely, but I’d like more closure on a couple things that seem thrown together and the concept of asteroid turned habitat is one I’d like to read more about.
Therin Knite
Oct 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This book had a lot of great, imaginative world-building, but the plot unfolded too slowly for my taste and I wasn't a huge fan of the writing style. I think this makes for a serviceable science fiction novel but could use a little "sprucing up" in the pacing department.

[NOTE: I received an ARC of this title from the publisher via NetGalley.]
Laura Pope
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So assured!

I don't know the last time I have read a book first to last page with such pleasure . Sage is so assured . The voices of the characters are so perfectly described and so perfectly authentic . This book could easily have won awards as a Mystery novel, let alone as a sci-fi novel .
Neal Holtschulte
May 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
I wanted to love this book. The prose is beautiful, the world, richly imagined, but I found the plot far too slow. I kept pushing onward, waiting for some shocking revelation or dramatic event to up the stakes, but I ran out of steam.
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good story combining SFI with a murder mystery. I got lost in some of the tech stuff and it seemed overlong but it is a good story and worth reading.
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