It's been many years since I first read this book. The second reading is even better than the first. The book, is in its essence, a murder mystery, set in a future time when humans have colonized parts of the universe.
The characters are superb. Elijah Bailey is the quintessential human who relies on his own senses and intellect to solve the crime. R. Daneel Olivaw and Giscard are as sympathetic as characters can be, with some surprises thrown in at the end.
The plot is tight, and moves along at a good clip that keeps the reader's attention. The ending is, as a good mystery should be, a surprise.
Narration is also excellent.
I highly recommend this book.
This book came highly recommended by friends who have read it, and has been critically well reviewed. I'm parting company with them.
The parts dealing directly with Pi's life were interesting. They were interspersed with long, really long, philosophical, theological and religious lectures. The author blathers on and on as if in love with the sight of his own words and entranced by the sound of his own voice. It didn't advance the story at all.
It was like running an obstacle course to get back to the interesting parts, and finally I just tired of it. I tried three times, and finally decided that I'd had enough.
The narrator was excellent. But not even he could enliven this pseudo treatise.
How/why this book received the excellent reviews and awards is a mystery to me.
Although this book isn't up to the standard I expect from Cussler books, it was OK. It's a good concept and timely in light of today's political stage. It pretty much held my interest, but is not a "page turner."
The characters were generally flat, two dimensional, not three. There was little about them to inspire empathy in the reader. Their motivations were supplied by the narrative, which is boring. The plot was generally ponderous and for an action-oriented book, that's not a good thing. It was just too "pat;" the characters were never really challenged, and you knew that there was absolutely no way they would fail.
The narrator was acceptable overall. A piece of advice for all narrators: don't try to voice a living person unless you can do it just about perfectly. The attempts in this book to voice Vladimir Putin & HU Jintao were awful. Similarly, when the narrator attempted dialogue with what he must have felt was ethnic inflection, it was just plain bad.
If you like Cussler, you'll probably like this book. Don't expect anything approaching his earlier works, though. This definitely isn't the Numa Files.
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