John Lee is the best narrator ever and the Hamilton Commonwealth/Void series is one of the best Meta-Space Operas ever Nice combination. If you have followed our various storylines in and out of the Void you will have to read this. If not, you will not get it. But can I make a suggestion? Go back and start with "Pandora's Star"....I envy you the journey.
Pandora's Star (2004), ISBN 0-330-49331-0
Judas Unchained (2005), ISBN 0-330-49353-1
The Dreaming Void (2007), ISBN 978-1-4050-8880-0
The Temporal Void (2008), ISBN 978-1-4050-8883-1
The Evolutionary Void (2010), ISBN 978-0-345-49657-7
The Abyss Beyond Dreams (2014) (This one)
The Night Without Stars (TBA)
So that I don't bury the lead -- this is one sophisticated, complex wonderful book. The narration is great as well. I wish Audible/Amazon would allow folks who listen to more than 20 books a year to, just a once a year, give a 6 star rating. Just one. Like a premium frequent traveler rating. I'd love to see the books that made that list. I'm certain this would be get the 6th star from a lot of people.
I enjoy historical biographies and hard science fiction particularly when the Sci-Fi comes in very long books or multiple book series -- with one or more of the following themes: modern space operas, complex storylines, detective or noir/cyberpunk overtones, cascading clever thoughts/dialogue and/or military. This has led me to earlier works by Peter F. Hamilton (Void Trilogy, Greg Mandel Series), Dan Simmons (Hyperion), Alastair Reynolds (Revelation Space Trilogy, Terminal World), Richard K. Morgan (Altered Carbon) and most recently Charles Stross. (Halting State and Rule 34.) (A swirling, clever, funny and very complex pair of police procedurals done just enough into the future to look at the next big thing in social engineering, computing, communications and just about anything else you can imagine.)
I never thought I'd say that I liked another Hamilton book as much as the Void Trilogy -- and this is a slightly different type of animal. Where that was broad and wild, this is tight and classy. It is like Wallander (obscure Swedish police procedural reference) meets the Void Trilogy. It IS "modern space opera, complex storyline, detective or noir/cyberpunk overtones, cascading clever thoughts/dialogue and/or military."
When I read Charles Stross' Halting State, I initially found it hard to get into the three rotating storylines and the fact that the narration is, oddly, in the second person -- but it was worth the work to do so. This one takes no such early work. Pay your one credit, hit the button an WHOOOOOSSSHHHH ! You are off. Like Halting State, it is a rock solid police procedural with a clever and appealing set of smart characters.
It is like listening to a great new song...you sort of know the rhythm and style but WOW. Toby Longworth is perfect too -- superb meld of material and delivery. Like I said, a 6 on a scale of 5.
New entry on the top ten.
While one book does not a great, sweeping space opera (usually) make -- this book is a solid foundation for what could be a great series. . .in the tradition of Campbell's "Lost Fleet," or other similar series (Ian Douglas, John Ringo, William Dietz, David Weber, David Drake, John Scalzi). There are really good ideas here, and excellent battles in space. The seeds are also planted for what is coming next -- along with a number of really good "concepts" about technology.
I did not read earlier iterations of this book, just listened to the 'final' Audible version -- which I thoiught was EXCELLENT. The writing is not tight -- but tight is not what I think of as the 'be all and end all' in this type of "writ large"" type of opening salvo. And it seems clear that as this rolls out it will provide an opportunity for greater control of language and syntax. But this is no amateur venture by a mile. This is a fine story well written and well performed.
If you liked the Lost Fleet you will love this. If you enjoyed the Dietz takeoff on the Foreign Legion, you will also appreciate the sinilarities here.
I cannot wait for the next book -- and what more can you say about a new writer and series ????