April 18

Sleeping Giants – Sylvain Neuvel

Sleeping GiantsDeadwood, USA. A girl sneaks out just before dark to ride her new bike. Suddenly, the ground disappears beneath her. Waking up at the bottom of a deep pit, she sees an emergency rescue team above her. The people looking down see something far stranger…

“We always look forward. We never look back.”

That girl grows up to be Dr. Rose Franklin, a brilliant scientist and the leading world expert on what she discovered. An enormous, ornate hand made of an exceptionally rare metal, which predates all human civilisation on the continent.

“But this thing … it’s different. It challenges us. It rewrites history.”

An object whose origins and purpose are perhaps the greatest mystery humanity has ever faced. Solving the secret of where it came from – and how many more parts may be out there – could change life as we know it.

“It dares us to question what we know about ourselves.”

But what if we were meant to find it? And what happens when this vast, global puzzle is complete…?

“About everything.”


My thanks to Michael Joseph for my review copy which I received through Netgalley.


This book is just WOW. Sleeping Giants was an absolute gem, it made me laugh, it kept me hooked, I had no idea where it was heading and some scenes actually made me stop reading and double back thinking “Wait! What just happened?”

Now that sounds like Sylvain Neuvel may not have explained events very clearly, not so!  The story unfolds as a series of interviews conducted between a shadowy political player and the various protagonists in the story.  The interviews are a fantastically scripted and (usually) they are recapping events which have occurred in the past. The interview subjects are being quizzed on the ramifications of these past events and how they feel about what has taken place. This is how the whole story unfolds.

The end result of this interview-style story telling is that you can find that a MAJOR incident has occurred between interviews and the Shadowy figure is casually asking how a traumatic incident may have made someone feel (in the same way that they may be asked if they were unhappy that they forgot their umbrella on a rainy day).

If it sounds slightly unusual then I am not doing Sleeping Giants justice.  It is a delight to read. The interview-style narrative is so cleverly used by the author that you cannot help but be entertained. The Shadowy figure is wonderfully deadpan and literal so the interviews always feel fresh and edgy.

The central characters are scientists, pilots, mathematicians – they operate on high intelligence levels yet are mere pawns in the game of the Shadowy character. He has out-thought them at each stage of the story, manipulated the team he assembled and has second guessed their actions months ahead of time.

But what of the titular Sleeping Giants?  A young girl in Deadwood USA accidentally falls into a newly formed hole in the ground. Her landing is not on hard ground but she finds herself in the palm of a giant hand. The hand is made of a compound never before found on Earth and is confounding scientists.  When the girl grows older she finds herself in charge of the team responsible for investigating the hand. However, now there is a will (or a Shadowy force, perhaps?) to find out if there are other parts to be found – what if the hand were a small part of a larger object?

Sleeping Giants tracks the progress of the quest to locate more ‘parts’ which will attach to the hand and then to establish the scope of power that they may harness. Sylvain Neuvel will take the story in directions you will not anticipate but you will enjoy every step of the journey.

Sleeping Giants gets one of the easiest 5/5 review scores I have awarded for some time. If this book does not feature in my Top Ten of 2016 it can only mean that the next 8 months have some stupendous books lurking in wait. I was gutted it ended, can we have the Shadowy figure back again please?


Sleeping Giants is published by Michael Joseph and releases on 21st April 2016.  You can order your copy here:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sleeping-Giants-Sylvain-Neuvel/dp/0718181689/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461016047&sr=8-1&keywords=sleeping+giants



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Posted April 18, 2016 by Gordon in category "5* Reviews", "From The Bookshelf