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The Widening Gyre

(The Remembrance War #1)

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  141 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Eight hundred years ago, the Zhen Empire discovered a broken human colony ship drifting in the fringes of their space. With only a third of the original colonists left alive in their cryo-pods, and the ship's computers damaged beyond repair, there was no way to know where the humans were from. The Zhen gave them a place to live and folded them into their Empire as a client ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 14th 2019 by Flame Tree Press
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Average rating 3.67  · 
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 ·  141 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)
People tend to believe whatever will maintain their worldview with the least amount of work.

On my blog

Galley provided by publisher

Rep: gay mc, non-white side characters

Sometimes you come across a book that is basically the synthesis of all the best things in life. For me, this book was one of those. It's an action-packed space opera, featuring (best of all) LGBT characters! (Well. G, as opposed to L, B or T, but. It's a start.) Plus, it gave me distinct Star Trek vibes, which is always
M.E. Garber
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A character-driven space opera spanning a wide universe, this story focuses on the human Tajen Hunt. A former loyal commander in the alien military that saved the final remnant of humanity, when Tajen failed in his final command, an entire colony got obliterated as he watched. He's never forgiven himself. Neither did his brother. But things get interesting when Tajen receives an unexpected and very mysterious message from his brother, calling him home.

The story is fast-paced, and I really liked
 Reading Reindeer 2021 On Proxima Centauri
THE WIDENING GYRE is exciting "hard" science fiction, meaning it's strong on technology, science, and space travel. In a future when the Zhen Empire rules the universe and humans are rated lower than an unwanted stepchild, former hero Tajen Hunt and his crew embark on a quest to locate Earth, humanity's original home planet, which after so many centuries has become a legend rather than an actual location.

Smooth writing, empathetic characters, and great world-building combine to make THE WIDENIN
While it had a great premise and some early promise, the book became fairly predictable soon and there was nothing not seen many times before, while characters and prose were ok but not that memorable to raise this one above an average space opera; most likely won;t read more in the series, but who knows, maybe book 2 will have the
extra" - though given the ending of this one I kind of doubt as the predictable conclusion settled it firmly into the typical good guys vs bad guys next shootout to c
Frank Errington
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review copy

Warning: The Widening Gyre: The Remembrance War Book 1 is the beginning of a series. The good news is this is a complete story. Should you decide not to read future tales in said series, you can rest assured you've read a great yarn. But, then again I can't imagine you not wanting to read the rest of the stories Michael R. Johnston has planned. The Widening Gyre is the best Space Opera I've read in years.

Recently, author Chuck Wendig has been encouraging his Twitter followers to read
I received a free copy via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.

This is a fairly standard space opera.
Although the characters are entertaining the story line is nothing that hasn't been written previously.
It was good enough to keep me engaged for a couple of days, just seemed to be missing something.
Jo  (Mixed Book Bag)
Great Start. Loved the characters, the backstory, the world building and the mystery. Then the whole thing just seemed to stop. The end left a whole lot to be desired. This is book one of a series but while one mystery was solved it left everything up in the air. I will pick up the next book just to see how everyone survives. At least I hope they survive.

I received a free copy of the book in return for an honest review.
Lel Budge
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: random-things
In The Widening Gyre, humans are a second class people under the Zhen Empire, they had been saved by the Zhen many many years ago and Earth’s location has been forgotten or lost.

Tajen Hunt is a human who used to be in the Zhen Empire fleet, a hero to them but after a military disaster he retired and now and spends his time exploring space in his ship.

He’s contacted by his estranged brother and races to go help him....but he’s too late......!

Tajen and his ‘crew’ then start a quest to find Earth
Alexia Cambaling
I received this book for free on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Widening Gyre is a fantastic space opera wherein humans became second-class citizens when a space empire rescued human colonists. The protagonist is Tajen Hunt, one of the few humans who rose to the military ranks of the empire and became something of a hero. Here, humans must reckon with their past in order to chart the course for their future. For our heroes, that means looking for Earth, the homeworld of humanity.
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is always a good sign when I start and finish a book on the same day. It was a fun and fast paced read. I liked the characters and their banter. The world building is good with believable characters, alien races, technology,etc. If you like space operas, heists, witty banter, sarcasm, and/or are a fan of Firefly this should be right up your alley.

That being said I gave it 4 instead of 5 stars for just a couple of reasons. I think it might be a little too fast paced when it comes to certain e
Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Zhen rescued all that was left of humanity from a deep space colony vessel and for hundreds of years have treated them as second class citizens, telling them that Earth had been lost. Tajen Hunt climbed as high as any human could climb in the Zhen military. Hero of one battle, loser of the next he left the forces and now pilots his own spacecraft, alone by choice. When he rescues an old military buddy and her crew from marauders he acquires a family of sorts. They sign on as his crew when he ...more
Christopher Gerrib
I met the author at a science fiction convention where he read from Chapter 2 of his book. I found it fascinating and so bought the book at the convention and had him sign it.

The story starts out as classic space opera. In the far future, a human, Tajen Hunt, a former soldier / hero of the Zhen Empire, is traveling back to his homeworld to take over the family's merchant spaceship. Things look interesting but normal, until he learns that his brother died in a suspicious accident. Oh, and we lea
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, arc
The Widening Gyre first caught my eye because of the synopsis.

Humans in the future are inhabitants on an alien planet as the result of a colony ship being damaged. One human, Tajen Hunt, has managed to make a name for himself as a war hero. In fact, he is the only human war hero in the history of the Zhen Empire. But when Tajen’s brother dies suddenly following a cryptic call, it throws his whole world upside down and sends Tajen, his niece, and an assorted crew of others on a hunt for their lon
Anne Szlachcic
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book in the series but can be read as a standalone - the story arc completes but leaves room for future books in this realm .
The worldbuilding and memorable characters with lots of witty banter makes for an enjoyable read .

Humans rescued from their derelict spaceship have been absorbed into Zhen empire , albeit reluctantly by many Zhen . One such human , Tajen Hunt , rose high but fell just as low after a defeat in which millions died .
But after discovering that his estranged b
Jan 07, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good, solid space opera stuff. Everything is a little bit too reminiscent of things I've seen done elsewhere, but when what you have are notes of Battlestar Galactica, Hyperion/Endymion, Wing Commander, and Firefly, you can't complain too much because all of that is *good*. Good cast of characters, though could do with a bit less Leading Man from the lead character, and a bit more than fade to blacks for every relationship beat of the same-sex romance subplot lurking off to the side, acting a bi ...more
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed the story

I read this book because of a recommendation from a friend who is related to the author. Enjoyed reading this book because it has a lot of good characters. Can't wait for the next book in the series.
Jonathan Tripp
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the story of this, of course it ended with a lot of questions that will hopefully be answered in the sequel. I was hooked on page one, all the characters had heart! Can't wait to see where the story goes beyond part one! 5 star review!! ...more
Beverly Caouette
SOLID 4.7 rating

Are you up for a good space adventure? Maybe one with a twist on the hero? This one's for you! I have found myself lost in many good sci-fi novels lately and was pleasantly surprised by this one from an author I didn't know. I can't wait for the next one!!
Jean Nicholson
Feb 13, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nikki Balzer
An interesting read with many SciFi components, space travel, different alien species, space wars. I read it in preference to watching TV at night even staying up late to finish it. I don't often do that ...more
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely loved it! Johnston's characters held my attention from start to finish. Can't wait to read the rest of the series! ...more
Abi Walton
May 27, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cnf
Although the plot sounded fun and exciting the writing was terrible and in the end, I could not finish it.
Liv Arnold
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Strong sci fi and world building. Not only that I enjoyed the subplot. I adored Tajen’s relationship with his niece and Liam.

If you love Star Trek, you’ll love this.
Scott Kardel
Mar 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I enjoyed The Widening Gyre, a space opera novel by Michael Johnston. I'm not sure that it rises high enough for me to seek out its sequel, but it was a fine read. ...more
Josh Hamacher
Mar 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Definitely a summer blockbuster of a book. Neither the universe nor the plot make a lot of sense, the technology is inconsistent, etc. But this was still an incredibly fast, fun read.
2.5 stars
The story has a good start but it soon becomes terribly predictable and full of contrived coincidences.
Dec 25, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Macho main character and stereotypical techy warrior types in a sci fi story. Not bad, but not great, either.
I couldn't get into this book I tried twice I just found it's boring. I got this book from Netgallery in exchange for a honest. ...more
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first novel in in the Remembrance War series published by Flametree Press. 800 years ago the remnants of the human race was saved by an alien race. This novel follows the a daring space jockey as stumbles across the secret past of the human race.

This is a fun a novel that harkens back to the pulps without indulging too deeply. It reminds me of Star Wars without the Jedi. Like if everything just followed around a gay Han Solo, as he battled his way from one sticky situation to the next, alway
Craig Pearson
Feb 15, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This book meets anyone's definition of a space opera. It is detailed and humorous without slowing down with unnecessary explanations. I would have like to know more about the non-humans. My only issue is with the blantant gay relationship that developed between the captain and a crew member. Just did not seem necessary. ...more
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Michael R. Johnston is a high school English teacher and writer living in Sacramento, California with his wife, daughter, and more cats than strictly necessary. He can be found at and Twitter @MREJohnston

Other books in the series

The Remembrance War (2 books)
  • The Blood-Dimmed Tide (The Remembrance War #2)

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