Cobley’s ANCESTRAL MACHINES take flight in Germany


ANCESTRAL MACHINES, Michael Cobley‘s fourth Humanity’s Fire novel, is out today in Germany! Published by Heyne as DIE JÄGER DES LICHTS, here’s the synopsis…

Für die Freiheit

Sie ist ein Meisterwerk interstellarer Ingenieurskunst: eine künstliche Sonne, um die zweihundert Planeten kreisen. Lange galt sie als ein Mahnmal des Friedens, doch das hat sich nun geändert. Die machtgierigen Herren der künstlichen Sonne nutzen ihre Energie, um fremde Planeten aus ihrem Orbit zu ziehen und zu versklaven. Als ein fruchtbarer, grüner Agri-Planet in den Dunstkreis der Sonne gerät, macht sich der Kapitän eines Schmugglerschiffs auf den Weg in ihr Zentrum, um den Planeten zu retten…


ANCESTRAL MACHINES is published in the UK and US by Orbit Books. Here’s the English-language synopsis…

No world is safe.

The Warcage: two hundred worlds harnessed to an articial sun in a feat of unprecedented stellar engineering. Built to travel through space as a monument to peace between alien species, now its voracious rulers have turned it into a nightmarish wasteland, capturing new planets for slaves and resources, then discarding the old.

Now, when a verdant agri-world is pulled out of its orbit, the captain of a smuggler ship must journey into the Warcage to rescue his crew.

Heyne have also published the first three novels in the series: DIE SAAT DER ERDE, WAISEN DES ALLES and DIE AHNEN DER STERNE.

The series is published in the UK and US by Orbit: SEEDS OF EARTH, THE ORPHANED WORLDS and THE ASCENDANT STARS.


Michael’s series has been widely praised. Here are just some of the great reviews his novels have received…

‘There’s a grand tradition within SF of galaxy-wide, aeon-spanning scenarios, with escalating magnitudes of scale and concomitant ramping up of narrative tension, and Michael Cobley’s Humanity’s Fire series is the latest example… Cobley excels at presenting his thoroughly lived-in future with a slew of technological marvels and an engaging cast of characters.’ Guardian on ANCESTRAL MACHINES

‘Cobley wastes no time in flaunting his honed, merciless skills… Cobley is taking the techniques pioneered by van Vogt, Charles Harness and other bold visionaries and ramping them up for a purely twenty-first-century kind of SF… Cobley takes all these characters, plus others, and pushes them along a non-stop, unrelenting, madcap set of adventures. The brio and joy of this storytelling is contagious. Here is a space opera which unashamedly honors the roots of the genre while expanding the remit of the mode… If you want a rousing space adventure full of sense of wonder that is also ideationally challenging, then you need look no further than ANCESTRAL MACHINE.’ Locus on ANCESTRAL MACHINES

‘If you want some solid sci-fi with cracking, fully-rounded characters backed up with solid prose alongside dialogue in fairly dark future, then Michael’s Humanity’s Fire series has probably already been on your radar for quite some time… a book that has cracking action, quirky humour as well as people that you really care about. Back this up with a cracking overall arc makes this perhaps the best book set in this world for me. Magic.’ Falcata Times on ANCESTRAL MACHINES

‘This is an absolute cracker of a space opera, fast-paced despite being over 400 pages… the larger scale exciting the imagination, the personal scale keeping it nicely relatable, with characters we genuinely care about.’ Forbidden Planet on ANCESTRAL MACHINES

‘A complex, finely detailed thriller-cum-space opera… SEEDS OF EARTH has everything: well-realised extraterrestrials, scheming artificial intelligences, set-piece space battles and bizarre technology from the dawn of the galaxy. The first book of the trilogy is also a convincing portrayal of political machinations and the plight of individuals caught up in events beyond their comprehension.’ Guardian

‘Cobley’s debut, first published in the U.K. in 2009, is a well-constructed space opera with a sense of vast scope, populated with an array of beautifully differentiated intelligences both organic and artificial… this is a thick and satisfying 10-course meal of starchy pageantry, meaty characters, bitter losses, and sweet romance.’ Publishers Weekly on SEEDS OF EARTH

‘Fast and exciting… an excellent middle book in the trilogy, expanding on SEEDS OF EARTH and setting everything in place for a thrilling conclusion.’ Waterstone’s Book Quarterly on THE ORPHANED WORLDS

Cobley writes energetic space opera… There are joyous moments of invention.’ SFX on THE ORPHANED WORLDS

‘All in all, this is an excellent space opera, full of imagination and invention. The human characters are mostly likeable and the inhuman ones send a shiver down the spine, especially the ones with machine parts and the parasites. There is a pleasing familiarity to much of it for those well-read in the genre and even for those who only do their Science Fiction on film and television. The writing is crisp and clear throughout and it all leads beautifully to a glorious conclusion… I highly recommend the series. Michael Cobley has added a fine piece of work to a grand tradition and I think old E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith is lying tranquil in his grave.’ SF Crowsnest on THE ASCENDANT STARS

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