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The Old Lie

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  163 ratings  ·  47 reviews

Shane Daniels and Romany Zetz have been drawn into a war that is not their own. Lives will be destroyed, families will be torn apart. Trust will be broken.

When the war is over, some will return to a changed world. Will they discover that glory is a lie?

Claire G. Coleman's new novel takes us to a familiar world to ask what we have learned from the past. The Old Lie might

Kindle Edition, 342 pages
Published August 27th 2019 by Hachette Australia
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Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  163 ratings  ·  47 reviews

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Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 s
The Old Lie is the second novel by award-winning Australian author, Claire G. Coleman. A fighter pilot, a soldier, a fugitive, a prisoner, a mortally-infected man: the opening chapters introduce these five ostensibly-unconnected characters and detail their situations. The fighter pilot has been flying for the Federation since Conglomeration forces began attacking Earth. The soldier left a spouse and children to fight for the Federation, for her family, her Country. The fugitive is on the
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Back when I was a teenager, I was obsessed with a PC game called Wing Commander. A wild, enormously enjoyable but politically conscious space flight sim, it kept me up through many nights when I should have been doing homework. Or sleeping. The Old Lie is basically Wing Commander in print, which isn't to suggest that it's in any way derivative of the game but it gave me all the same feels. Perhaps even more, given its thoroughly Australian context and my more mature understanding of our deeply ...more
Rebecca Bowyer
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Old Lie, by Claire G. Coleman is one of those brilliant but infuriating novels that you really want to tell other people to read, but is really hard to describe properly without including at least a couple of almost-spoilers.

I can tell you that it’s a wonderfully imaginative, dark novel set in the future (mostly in outer space, but also on Earth in Australia), told from multiple points of view about humans trying to find their way back to Earth and make sense of what’s happened to their home
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gifted
In depth

In The Old Lie, Coleman subverts reader expectations to deliver a biting critique of colonial Australia, with a creative twist. Coleman excels at putting the audience in her characters' shoes, while telling a story that's both frightening and compelling. Readers should note triggers for graphic descriptions of war-related violence and dead bodies, racism, and violence towards refugees, including children.

Told from a range of perspectives, The Old Lie follows a core cast of First Nations
Nov 08, 2019 rated it liked it
So to be clear, this is certainly an SF novel, and has all the usual spaceships, battles and alien races that you expect, but, BUT, this is also a gut-punch of a novel, as the horror of the story, and the truth of the allegory slowly dawn on the reader. This one is going to sit with me for a while I feel, and has made me look more closely at parts of Australian history that I have only slowly been fully appreciative of.
This book holds up a dark mirror to the world (and the reader), I also feel
Maree Kimberley
If I'm being honest, I found The Old Lie a bit of a struggle and almost abandoned it. I'm glad I didn't because in the end I enjoyed the novel but it was a hard slog for at least the first half. Still, by the end I was absolutely hooked. It was a real race to the finish as the main characters fought to attain their final goal, and the horror of the new reality they faced was revealed.

I'm not a fan of space opera as a general rule, and perhaps that's why I didn't enjoy the first half of the
Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)
Following the success of her debut novel, Terra Nullius (including its shortlisting on the Reading Women Award fiction shortlist in 2018), I was so excited when I first heard that Coleman had a second novel coming out. I pre-ordered and began reading on publication day, and am happy to report that it did not disappoint!

Coleman is a writer from Western Australia and identifies with the South Coast Noongar people. While still within the realm of speculative fiction, The Old Lie is a very different
G Batts
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
I really struggled with this one. The prose was clunky, some metaphors seemed mixed and paragraphs lacked progressive flow. As an example of the last point, at the beginning of the paragraph Kelly noticed a drop of water on her phone. Next sentence was that her eyes were pouring tears. By the end of the paragraph her tears were red, presumably with blood. There was no process of escalation between the three descriptions of tears.
The story was also remarkably unimaginative. My guess is that this
Andi C Buchanan
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Old Lie is, at its core, a combination of space opera and military SF, and like most of that genre it has something to say about actual war and history. I received a proof copy as part of a publisher giveaway (thank you!) with no expectation of review - it's odd that as someone who tries to stay on top of SFF releases I don't think I'd otherwise heard of it. I'm more intrigued by what appears to be a decision to market it more as literary/historical fiction than science fiction, and how a ...more
Wendy Ryan
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very readable, with a vivid immediacy and a serious underlying purpose. If it's not too shallow of me, I would also really like a sequel because I became so attached to the characters and their story but I guess the old lie always goes on.
I knew nothing for sure about this book, going in.

Actually, that's not quite true. I knew it was by Claire G Coleman, so having readTerra Nullius I had a reasonable assumption that it would involve something very clever and probably heart-wrenching as a commentary on Indigenous Australians.

(If you haven't readTerra Nullius yet, and you're Australian, you really really really should.)

I also assumed that it would be a really awesome story, because it was her.

The other main assumption I made was
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book operates on several levels. It's most straightforward is space opera. Coleman is a tense, taut scene writer, and the novel is packed with chase, battle, heist and escape sequences, with clever use of imagined-but-plausible tech. John Scalzi's Old Man's War came to mind a number of times during the battle sequences, and the Old Lie will appeal to fans of that series.
At another level, the book operates as a series of challenges to the reader's assumptions. Coleman does love exploiting an
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
To be honest, I started this book with an entirely misguided idea of what it was. The opening chapters left me a little confused as you jump from character to character with little context, but all it made me want to do was keep reading, and that's just what I did.

Possible spoilers:
The Old Lie is set in the future, but the heart of the story echoes from Australia's history. It's a story of wars fought for others' causes, children ripped from their families, prejudice, inequality, oppression,
Liz Murray
Claire Coleman is an expert storyteller with the different threads in this book not fully coming together until the end. Many different people and places are described with each as compelling as the next. Claire Coleman identifies with the South Coast Noongar people in Western Australia and the story is inspired by her own family history. Her grandfather fought in the second world war, at a time when the Australian government didn't recognize Aboriginal people as citizens. The treatment of ...more
This novel has been staring out at me from my shelves for a while now. As a huge fan of war poetry, I was immediately drawn to the title – The Old Lie – and its connection to one of my favourite Wilfred Owen poem’s, Dulce Et Decorum Est. Though I was mentally prepared for the guerilla style warfare and the links to Australia’s past, I definitely wasn’t expecting the expertly intertwined science fiction conventions woven throughout the story.

The standout element of the story that I absolutely
Coleman has written an action-packed science fiction novel with many strong female characters. The two friends from earth; Shane a courageous military leader and Romany (nicknamed Romeo) an exceptional fighter pilot, had left their homes on Earth eight years before to fight on behalf of The Federation. The Federation was trying to blockade the Solar System after it had been attacked by another group called The Conglomeration. The universe is populated by a huge number of different peoples who ...more
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Engulfing you in the grotesque and vivid reality of war, Claire Coleman perfectly captures the warnings from Wildfred Owen's "Dulce et Decorum Est." Much like her debut novel, Terra Nullius, Coleman fuses past and future, creating insight into the lived experiences of soldiers while portraying a very realistic, intergalactic world filled with multi-species and races.

The novel immediately throws you into the front line. Coleman uses complex and fascinating characters to encapsulate the
Kate Cuthbert
A familiar specfic storyline opened and unpacked by a population of diversified characters not restricted by familiar specfic character tropes. There are several separate story lines, so the book takes a few chapters to get into (and a few more to keep the characters straight!), but will carry you through to an appropriate (if not entirely emotionally satisfying) end.

Claire Coleman is not subtle, and nor is her use of science fiction tropes groundbreaking. But the underlying argument to her
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Old Lie is a brilliant work of military science fiction and pertinent social justice writing. Coleman explores old themes of the costs of war, colonization, and weapons testing in a far flung yet all too recognizable setting, a near future that has seen humanity join an intergalactic Federation and enlist in fighting their war. Imagining a grim future for mankind alongside reflections on layered parallels in our real history, this novel shines beautifully with its cast of dazzling, tenacious ...more
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
'The sadness wafted over him like the smoke of a guttering campfire, there was a smell to the grief, like a wind bringing the aroma of death, like his memory of the time after a bushfire had passed, ash, cooked animals and rot.'

I am not normally a reader of speculative fiction but always make an exception for Claire G. Coleman. Nobody can make such a powerful point about colonisation while using outer space and alien species.
The Earth is part of the Federation who are at war with the
Sep 13, 2019 rated it liked it
A good character study of war in space set amongst great social and political commentary with a slight Australian historical influence. Never been massive into specualtive fiction so needs to blow me away to really hain my attention. Love supporting local talent so gave it a read. Will hit the sweet spot for speculative fiction fans.
Martin Barrett
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As with the briliantly original "Terra Nullius" Claire Coleman has delivered an exciting SF thriller set in humanity's uncertain future, while at the same time illuminating a dark period in our history and explaining why those wounds are still raw.
Shannon McLeod
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you're looking for a dystopian futuristic blackfella book this is it! Made me cry and cringe in some parts and really enjoyed seeing the story cone together towards the end.
Suzanne Walker
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
An excellent book. I was glad I knew nothing about it except some vague notion that it had a science fiction genre. It was so much more than that. I was really moved by the struggles of the characters and what they represented.
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
An excellent piece of Indigenous sci-fi.
Moving, troubling and thought-provoking. Strongly recommended.
Larry D'librarian
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
My review in Newtown Review of Books

Claire G Coleman is a trickster; her writing is cunning and she is skilled in illusion; she challenges our perceptions and assumptions; my mindset was thrown several times by plot and character revelations. This is ambitious speculative literature that messes with genre and respects history. We are reading a story set in space, a story that also reflects the politics of World War I and the alliances that caused it. The
Melinda Kovac
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
I struggled to get through this unfortunately. The novel took a sharp turn from what I went into it expecting and I had a hard time enjoying it after that. I haven’t read anything else by this author so am not sure if this is her usual writing style but I found the writing very repetitive and found myself distracted by it. Unfortunately this felt like a real slog. While I appreciate the author being inspired by historical events, I felt the novel would have been far more moving had it been set ...more
James Whitmore
Oct 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
The old Lie, according to WWI poet Wilfred Owen, is that there is glory to be found in dying for one's country. Claire G. Coleman's new novel of the same title is a systematic demolishing of that lie. After an allusive opening chapter - the mysterious destruction of a building containing archives in Melbourne - we meet Shane Daniels, an infantry corporal leading a retreat through a battle-ruined landscape that could be the Western Front.

From Coleman's previous novel Terra Nullius I knew to
Gloria Arthur
Aug 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-bookshelf
The Old Lie begins with several unique character storylines, it takes a few chapters to get into the story but it all unfolds cleverly.

It’s a story of war on Earth and in Space, human and alien. A very modern science fiction tale with a lesson in trust.

This was very well written and not the usual type of genre I read but I found it an entertaining and unforgettable story. It’s written by talented Australian author Claire G. Coleman

I loved the way Claire's story was influenced deeply by
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