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When the Sparrow Falls

4.53  ·  Rating details ·  32 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Life in the Caspian Republic has taught Agent Nikolai South two rules. Trust No One. And work just hard enough not to make enemies.
Here, in the last sanctuary for the dying embers of the human race in a world run by artificial intelligence, if you stray from the path – your life is forfeit. But when a Party propagandist is killed – and is discovered as a “machine” – he’s g
Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: June 29th 2021 by Tor Books
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Maine Colonial
I read a publisher's advance review copy, provided via Netgalley.

Wow, was I impressed by this book. First of all, Sharpson makes us understand the Caspian Republic very quickly. To me, it seemed like a sort of future mashup of East Germany and North Korea. Because the Caspian Republic is the only country in the world that bans artificial intelligence—which by then has been incorporated in humankind everywhere else—it’s essentially a hermit kingdom, a pariah country and a surveillance state. The
Angie Boyter
When the Sparrow Falls scores a home run in three genres. It is a sure-fire contender for a Hugo Award nomination in science fiction, with a beautifully crafted future history and worldbuilding worthy of masters like Philip K Dick or even the sainted Asimov. It is a truly riveting thriller full of murder and conspiracy in which the protagonist knows exactly who he can trust: no one. It also explores human themes with a depth and careful attention to the writing that merits the title of literatur ...more
Nick Brett
May 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this. In essence a dystopian thriller set a couple of hundred years into the future. Mankind has embraced Artificial Intelligence but the Caspian Republic is a hold-out nation desperately clinging on to a version of humanity and hunting down any sign of AI activists in the country. Sadly the Caspian Republic is reminiscent of the old East Germany and the Stasi with a network of spies and informers. It is a nation gently going under as it is shunned by the rest of the AI dominate ...more
Mar 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
Books turned into movies or TV shows are quite common. But I haven’t seen many books, such as When the Sparrow Falls, adapted from plays. Sharpson adapts his own script into a sci-fi meditation on political extremism, loneliness and technology.

We follow Agent Nikolai South, who is instructed to escort the visiting AI machine Lily Xirau when she arrives in the Caspian Republic to retrieve her deceased husband. Her unprecedented visit sets off political mayhem, as the Caspian Republic is the last
Apr 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was a fascinating book. A glimpse into a future of AI and the few who have resisted. Some great characters and a very creative plot. I was surprised by the ending. The book ended, but dang, I wish there was more to come. This was an interesting world.

Thank you NetGalley for the early read.
Zack Hiwiller
Apr 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
*I received an e-copy of this book from NetGalley*

The problem with dystopias in science fiction is that they often tend to only exist to sow conflict into the protagonists world; they aren't there for any consistent in-world reason. Often it is just a given that there is a powerful almost all-seeing, almost all-powerful entity that all antagonists work as cogs to perpetuate. But that isn't how real autocracies work and worse, it isn't very interesting.

What makes Sharpson's When the Sparrow Fall
Apr 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle, netgalley
I have received a digital advance review copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion. Thank you!

5 stars - thoughtful, well observed, pretty great!

In the not too distant future earth is ruled by three super-AIs and a large part of humanity has uploaded their souls and left their bodies to live online or in a cloned biological suit. They share the world with AIs who have become sentient and live with humans as equals.

And then there is the Caspian republic: built on an ideolog
Daniel Bensen
Dec 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Finally you can read this book! I've been sitting with my hands for a year since my friend and colleague Neil gave me this manuscript to beta-read. The feedback I gave him was pretty useless: "I love it! It's perfect!"

Don't let the book's official description fool you. When the Sparrow Falls is not techno-pessimistic. Sharpson presents a future where AI has made the Earth a pretty good place to live...except the oppressive, backward little dictatorship where they banned it.

The main character is
Jenn Adams
If you read The Preserve because the concept sounded interesting, but ultimately were bored, this book is for you. A couple centuries into the future, AI rules the world and "humanists" who want to live an all-organic-human country are relegated to a small area by the Caspian Sea. We follow Nikolai South through this intricate world as he navigates an increasingly complicated mission. Would definitely recommend. Very well done.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this eARC in exchange for m
Kathy Henkins
May 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
When the Sparrow Falls

How many books are contained within When the Sparrow Falls? I would answer 2 l/2. Packing in a lot of plot in some cases makes a novel fast-paced and what some people call “unputdownable.” In the case of Neil Sharpson's novel, however, something else occurs. The “main” story is intriguing and engaging set in a dystopian future world built with multiple layers of dimension.

The first-person narrator, Nikolai, has been a state security (Stasec) agent for twenty-nine years in
Elli (Kindig Blog)
May 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I always get slightly wary when a book is billed as being the perfect mashup between two brilliant and important books. I always get excited, it always raises my expectations and a lot of the time I am left disappointed. When The Sparrow Falls is billed as ‘1984 meets Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep’ and I can’t think of a more apt description, except maybe to add it also reminded me of North Korea and the video game ‘Papers Please’.

The book really immerses us into the world of The Caspian
Jun 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
Rebellion Publishing provided an ARC for my review of this novel.

Neil Sharpson's "When the Sparrow Falls" is a top notch political thriller set in the not so distant future. Nikolai Soul, the central character, is a long term State Security Officer for the Caspian Republic, who has never been promoted and has just been assigned to escort Lily, who is seeking information about the death of her husband, Paulo Xirau.

In this world, the Caspian Republic is the sole refuge of humanity, where Artificia
Apr 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Note: I received an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

It's a dystopian Earth. Most of the world is overrun by Artificial Intelligence. Only a small segment of the world are true humans- born, not grown in a lab or uploaded from saved consciousness to a human body. The small factor of living humans are being snuffed out by their own kind for a variety of rule breaks. Life is hard. People are poor. People are afraid of their neighbors-never knowing who to t
Tania Hutley
May 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up an early copy of this book, but WOW. It turned out to be a gritty noir political thriller set in a 1984/North Korea-styled dystopian far future.

I'm not usually a fan of books with complex political intrigue, but the world building was so cleverly layered into the story that I was gripped from the beginning to the unexpected end. The writing was excellent, the plot twisty, and the ideas intriguing.

An impressive and most enjoyable novel. Thank you Net
Apr 15, 2021 rated it liked it
I picked this out for a fun sci-fi read about sentient AIs. Instead, it IMMEDIATELY began serving Philip K. Dick noir dystopian cyberpunk vibes.

The Caspian Republic is a tiny, authoritarian state, a bastion of pure humanity in a world where almost everyone has become at least partially AI. People starve and scrape by, isolated from the rest of the global community, while various shadowy security bureaus watch citizens' every move and squabble for dominance.

Nikolai South is an agent of one of t
Bernie Gourley
Jun 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The Caspian Republic is a Soviet-style dystopia, but set in a future in which it is the sole holdout against rule by Artificial Intelligence (AI,) against virtual living, and against downloading one’s consciousness. When, Nikolai South, an unimpressive agent of the State Security agency is given the seemingly undemanding, yet diplomatically sensitive, job of escorting the foreign widow of a deceased “journalist,” something is amiss. Nikolai’s work philosophy has been to find the sweet spot where ...more
Apr 28, 2021 rated it liked it
Unfortunately this did not quite do it for me! The blurb made me expect a fast-paced, hard sci-fi book about AI. Instead I got... sort of a quiet noir-ish story set in an authoritarian regime? Even though it's set in the future, it reads like an alternate history. It gave me vibes of like... Nineteen Eighty-Four meets The Yiddish Policeman's Union, even though there is nothing Jewish about this book at all. (I loved Nineteen Eighty-Four, but I haaaaaated The Yiddish Policeman's Union.)

The world
Jun 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Bladerunner meets 1984 in Neil Sharpson's debut novel about a world where humans are going extinct and AIs are ascendant, the Casipan Republic is a dismal refuge for humanity, combining the authoritarian tones of North Korea and Huxley's Brave New World. StaSec Agent Nikolai South has made a career out of not standing out, so he's surprised when he's given the assignment to look after Lilly, the wife of a Party propagandist who was killed...and discovered to be an AI. Of course Lily is too and s ...more
Sarah R | BiblioBonorum
*I received an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!*
May 01, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
An interesting premise but none of the characters hooked me. Thanks, NetGalley, for a free advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
May 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
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