Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

The basics

Title: Sleeping Giants


Series: Themis Files #1

- Sleeping Giants (2016)
- Waking Gods (2017)
- Only Human (2018)

Add it: Goodreads

Goodreads Summary:

A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square-shaped hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved - the object's origins, architects, and purpose unknown.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top-secret team to crack the hand's code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the relic they seek. What's clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unravelling history's most perplexing discovery-and finally figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?

Read a full summary of Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel below. If you can’t remember what happened in Sleeping Giants and you need a refresher, then you’re in the right place.

What happened in Sleeping Giants?

  • Rose recalls how she fell into a crater in her family’s farm. She has to be rescued, and we learn that Rose actually fell into a giant metal hand.
  • Rose is now a scientist and is being interviewed by a man who is asking questions about the giant hand. Rose is now researching the hand and what it could mean. The interviewer is clearly wealthy, and he plans to fund Rose’s research and help find the rest of the metal parts – assuming there are any.
  • After a metal forearm appears in Turkey, Rose realises that argon-37 seems to trigger the appearance of these body parts.
  • Codes are found on the body parts, so a linguist called Vincent is recruited to decipher them.
  • A woman called Kara and her co-pilot, Ryan, are recruited for robot body part retrieval, as they were involved in the accident in Turkey.
  • Internationally, everyone starts to kick off because the US has been exploring and digging into foreign land.
  • The team starts to assemble the robot. Kara and her co-pilot attempt to control the robot from a chamber inside the torso. The robot head accepts Kara as the host, but the leg doesn’t like Ryan.
  • Vincent is accepted by the robot leg, which upsets Ryan because Ryan wants to stay with Kara.
  • This allows Kara and Vincent to grow closer. Obviously Ryan gets super jealous and runs Vincent over with a truck, which leaves Vincent disabled and unable to use his legs.
  • The doctors are about to amputate Vincent’s legs, when the anonymous rich interviewer intervenes and tells the doctors to use titanium material on the legs. The doctor needs to invert Vincent’s new knees to match the robot legs.
  • As you can imagine, Vincent is quite upset. He has to learn to walk again.
  • The robot is fully constructed. Kara and Vincent practice a bit, and then decide to try out what they learnt. Unfortunately, it all goes a bit wrong and Denver airport is destroyed. Rose is also killed.
  • This event leads to the whole world learning about the existence of a giant robot, and the mysterious interviewer has to promise to get rid of it otherwise all the countries will go to war.
  • A while later, the mysterious guy puts the crew back together to rebuild the robot in Puerto Rico. This time they have to work with a scientist called Alyssa, who is a bit of a sociopath so this isn’t a great idea.
  • The robot is re-revealed, and the other great nations decide to share it.
  • The mysterious interviewer speaks to another anonymous person and they discuss where the robot could have come from. They wonder whether it was left behind by an alien species which used to inhabit Earth thousands of years ago.
  • Alyssa decides now is a good time to attack Korea with the robot. This goes against what the anonymous interviewer (who I really need to give a name) told her to do. The US government start threatening the project.
  • Alyssa starts experimenting on Vincent and Kara to figure out how they can control the robot. Alyssa brings Ryan back, which I thought was a terrible idea until Ryan helps Vincent and Kara escape the compound.
  • The US sends its military to the compound and most of the people there are arrested and imprisoned. Alyssa somehow manages to escape, and we learn that she was involved in leading experiments in Bosnia during the war. So she has always been a bit grim.
  • The anonymous interviewer gets the government to release him, stating that he was trying to protect the US by building the giant robot (repeatedly).
  • We learn that Rose is still alive and somehow in Denmark. She seems to be five years younger now, and has no memory of the goings on with the robot or her death.

This is a full plot summary of what happened in Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. Check out our recap list for more recaps. If you can’t find what you need, you can request a recap from us!

Leave a reply