Review by clong (2005-02-24)
This is, in my experience, a truly unique book . . . a really bad first book in a series that turned out to be really quite good (doesn't it usually seem to work the other way around?).
The Real Story disappointed on many levels. There's not much plot: a sadistic criminal captures and then repeatedly rapes the sole surviver of a space accident. That pretty much sums up the book.
In fact, you could almost skip this first book altogether. Its sole redeeming quality is that it sets up Donaldson's later transformation of the three key characters in the series (who are very one dimensional here) to pretty much the polar opposite of where they stand when first introduced (the good guys become bad guys, the jailer becomes the rescuer, the powerless become the powerful, etc.). In fact, my recollection is that (in the forward or afterward) Donaldson almost suggests that we should look at this story as an etude in character transformation.
Despite my disappointment with this one, I did go ahead and buy the second book of the series at a used book store, and I found it much, much better, leading me to go ahead and ultimately read the entire series.
Review by sqbr (2003-07-05)
I found this book almost unreadable. (I certainly didn't continue with the series) The basic plot is two people travelling through space, both emotionally messed up and one spends a fair bit of his time raping the other. Fun. What is it with Stephen Donaldson and rape anyway?
Review by transient0 (2003-03-07)
Those familiar with the White Gold Wielder series will recognize Donaldson's style. The Gap series deals with the same themes: internal struggles of good and evil in every character, sexual perversity, role reversal. In my opinion this series, although entertaining, pales beside the White Gold Wielder series.