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)
As a huge fan of Peter F. Hamilton's other works I was greatly looking forward to his latest epic. Of the 10 Hamilton books I've listened to or read, this was not even in the same league. The characters are boring and lacking in depth, the plot is ridiculously slow and the unnecessary story lines make up more content than the relevant ones!
Great North Road is comprised of 2 related story lines; one an extremely long winded police procedural and one about a supposed elite military unit on another planet looking for a scary alien. The police procedural plods along at a snails pace, lacking direction and substance. Hours are spend on the main character's search for a new home or other inconsequential elements that bring the plot to a screeching halt. The military unit section is basically a very bad lost-in-the-woods horror movie about a bunch of inept soldiers who go in unprepared and make one bad decision after the next. Implausibility is the rule for this section so don't expect it to be realistic.
Throw this all together with a bunch of ill-timed flashbacks to explain plot holes, a narrator who does such strong accents they are at times incomprehensible, repetitive phrases and a book that should have been edited to 8 hours and you get Great North Road, all 36 hours of it. I never thought I'd say this about a Peter F. Hamilton book but you should spend your credit elsewhere.
Yes, interesting mix of detective story and scifi
Most other space Opera
Angela was the most interesting
A massive deliciously pulpy SF novel with plenty of threads, both personal and epic. Unfortunately the lengthy dead-end investigation and convoluted mystery drag on a bit much. The bulk of the middle deserves skimming. That said, the last 20% of the book does pay off, and the underlying narrative is smartly connected despite seeming otherwise at times. The flashbacks are worthwhile insights into character and setting, and I do like the complicated heroine and the dipping into clashing views on expansion and economy, religion and environment, etc. Do check the character list and timeline to help wade through the 36-hour listen.
No (its a 36h long book...)
The story is a good Peter F. H. story, his style, epic and slow. But the narrative takes away a bit of the pleasure. While in written book you a visual clues that we changed sets, locations, no such clues on the audio, many times i found my self lost, not understanding what happen, why some character was speaking, until i got it, we have changed scenes, a complete new character set is now speaking.
Finally, the lack of voice differentiation made the book some times hard to follow. With a bunch of characters named Nord, it was hard to understand which Nord was talking. (but, this was my first audio book with a single narrator, so this might be the "norm")
If you like listening to grass grow, this book is for you. There are a few exciting moments and ideas here and there but having to mow through 36 hours to get them is not worth it.
It's more a 3 1/2, but I'm limited by this system - so, I'll round upward. This book was quite a bit better than I expected. The sci-fi wasn't too overboard, the intrigue/drama level was sufficiently high, and the police-procedural was just the right amount of ballsy - cumulatively, it was a well-done balance. It may have dragged on a little bit at times - but not overly much, and certainly not enough to ding the rating. After all, the main plot was intricate and unique, and it kept me transfixed and interested most of the time. All in all, it was an interesting listen - the audiobook narrator, Toby Longworth, did a wonderful job with the voicing, the inflections, and the overall tone and feel of the characters. This being my first Hamilton novel, I'd be strongly inclined to try another of his works in the future.
The story was pretty good, the events and flow of the story line proceeded very well. The ending was drawn out, as the reader would know the most probable ending. overall, the performance was good, a few annunciation hurdles to overcome, but entertaining.
sloooooow to get moving. I've read most of his work. this is exceptionally slow. painfully so. I'm halfway through and I'm losing interest fast. the story line is blah. although the tech aspect is as impressive as I'd expect from this author the meat and potatoes is not here. the story line could have been developed better. the subject and ideas were great but I don't think they warrant 40ish hours to get the thing told. the narrator was his normal great self. the performance was the savior here.
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