A century from now, thanks to a technology allowing instantaneous travel across light-years, humanity has solved its energy shortages, cleaned up the environment, and created far-flung colony worlds. The keys to this empire belong to the powerful North family - composed of successive generations of clones. Yet these clones are not identical. For one thing, genetic errors have crept in with each generation. For another, the original three clone "brothers" have gone their separate ways, and the branches of the family are now friendly rivals more than allies.
Or maybe not so friendly. At least that's what the murder of a North clone in the English city of Newcastle suggests to Detective Sidney Hurst. Sid is a solid investigator who'd like nothing better than to hand off this hot potato of a case. The way he figures it, whether he solves the crime or not, he'll make enough enemies to ruin his career. Yet Sid's case is about to take an unexpected turn: Because the circumstances of the murder bear an uncanny resemblance to a killing that took place years ago on the planet St. Libra, where a North clone and his entire household were slaughtered in cold blood.
The convicted slayer, Angela Tramelo, has always claimed her innocence. And now it seems she may have been right. Because only the St. Libra killer could have committed the Newcastle crime. Problem is, Angela also claims that the murderer was an alien monster.
Now Sid must navigate through a Byzantine minefield of competing interests within the police department and the world's political and economic elite...all the while hunting down a brutal killer poised to strike again. And on St. Libra, Angela, newly released from prison, joins a mission to hunt down the elusive alien, only to learn that the line between hunter and hunted is a thin one.
©2012 Peter F. Hamilton (P)2013 Tantor
"It's a perfect introduction to his gifts for character design, dialogue, and sheer, big-idea-driven storytelling." (Booklist)
Peter F. Hamilton has for years provided some of my most memorable and enjoyable reading experiences (here, I would highlight Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained as the best) by virtue of his Commonwealth Universe first and foremost, but also the Confederation Universe.
In this stand-alone book, as opposed to his normal multi-book series, Hamilton provides a captivating enough story--the characters are for the most part interesting and the plot has both predictable and surprising twists, but one is left feeling that the universe could and should be better developed. The kinds of stories Hamilton does best simply need more space. Furthermore, I'm just not a big fan of his "earth-centric" books. Vast space operas offer greater breadth and detail. This felt almost mundane by comparison, and not for lack of shock factor.
This is a good read, and should be read, but I would place it below any unread Commonwealth or Confederation books on my list.
An avid reader, demanding of the story, characters and narrator. Mysteries and historical fiction are my favorites.
To enjoy this book, you have to enjoy a LONG story, a complex set of characters and at least three timelines. I would characterize this book as science fiction, so be prepared for LOTS of references to futuristic technology. Very cool.
I was initially concerned: Could I keep track of everyone? But I encourage you to hang on because the result is well worth the effort.
NO SPOILERS HERE:
This is a story about a family of cloned brothers that is prominent on several different worlds and that - in particular - controls fuel production, so they are wildly rich. It is also a story of ecological ethics and carries a Biblical theme (the Garden of Eden comes to mind), in my opinion. "Humanity" is a central character in this book and resurfaces throughout.
It is also a police murder mystery, a convoluted family drama, a commentary on politics, a monster-slasher story, a "who dunnit" and a morality play.
Be prepared for one thing: Author Peter Hamilton periodically thrusts the reader back 20 years, but not necessarily in the order that would immediately clarify certain details. So he will toss you a moment in a brand new character's life for what seems to be no reason at all. Ten hours of listening later, he will bring this character back, and you will think, "AH HAH! I am beginning to get it."
The only reason I gave the story 4 stars is because of the degree of complexity. It will discourage some readers and demands more effort.
As I stated earlier: hang on, and ENJOY!
Hamilton's vision of the future. I want to go to there.
I always enjoy the descriptions of the technology; how basic input/output and data collection devices are woven into society.
Geesh - Toby is amazing. Male, Female, British, English - any nationality; doesn't matter. Smoooth and flawless.
It is a 36 hour book - probably not an "all in one sitting" kind of book. And frankly, one needed a break here and there.
An easy 5 stars. First off, the narration by Toby Longworth is superb. I've listened to many audio books (pushing 200 now) and this guy has a command of characterization that is genuine genius.
And, while Peter Hamilton is a masterful story-teller, particularly of the space-epic variety, this mystery/sci-fi piece is one of his very best. How many of his books have I read? Five, six? Probably enjoyed this one the most.
If you like well wrought sci-fi and a bit of detective drama then this one will be a memorable experience for you too.
Complexity, idea levels
Toby Longworth sounds like he's having a really bad day narrating this. Grating voce, no modulation. His idea of having anyone not a main character speak in a heavy accent is really jarring. It spoils lots of the narrative for me.
The idea of using terrible mock russian or indian accent for anyone not presented as sympathetic is not endearing.
Overall, he'd be better narrating Tom Clancy.
No. It's 1½ days long ..
I'd love to hear this story given justice by a decent narrator.
I did recommend it to a friend, even though the editing was dreadful. The narrator and author were both great.
The editor needs to be taken out back and given 50 lashes. Nothing worse than hearing dead space for a while, then have the narrator just cut into a paragraph halfway thru. It would often take a full chapter to figure out the parts that were clipped out, or where I was in the story. The story literally bounces around in time and space. That's not that bad, as the author has written in dates and times to start the scene, so you know where you are. But when the first part of a new chapter or scene starts with a time and date, and that portion is clipped off, then you are lost. This is extremely frustrating, to say the least.
The scope of the story is massive; the character list alone is hard to keep track of. And while everything ties together a little too neatly at the end, there are a couple really compelling story lines (and characters). Also, a very fine performance by Longworth makes listening to this quite enjoyable.
I thoroughly enjoyed other books by Peter Hamilton so I decided to give this one a try. He puts forth a lot of effort in developing the characters through direct description or through the characters past memory of a particular event. It is in this manner that he weaves the characters to others so that the reader gets to know them and their place in the plot.
Although the book does become a bit tedious as he tries to build this universe, the narration makes it tough to hang in there to the conclusion. Perhaps it is just me but I find the British accent hard to get accustomed to. In this case it makes the story not nearly as enjoyable. The narrator does well with mixing in a few different accents but the overall accent delivering the story diminishes the enjoyment, in my opinion.
All in all, definitely a good listen. Especially if you like Hamilton's other books.
Hopefully you are familiar with Hamilton's other works like the 2 + 3 book commonwealth saga. I truly enjoyed how complex and deep those stories were so I thought I would give this one a shot too. Easily as complex but not as enticing as his other works. I use this as a filler between other audio books and am not sure when I will ever finish it but it just doesn't draw me in at all. Felt like it was building towards a grand climax and then just fell away so who knows.
No I would not - Hamilton and his enzyme bonded concrete...jesus christ, is everything done on enzyme bonded fucking concrete?!!
The North's are my kind of twisted family
No, this book is about 3 books in one
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