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)
Did you know you can put in a set of Ear-Buds, slap your Hearing Protectors over them, and Mow the lawn, Weed-Eat, etc, without your book being drowned out by engine noise? OR, you can just let the horses in the yard, and THEY'LL mow and weedeat (literally) FOR YOU!
I listened to this book in a non-stop Listen-Fest, something like 37 hours! I spent the first part of the book being confused, then I was sure I knew where it was going, but it didn't go there, it also didn't go to the next place I was sure it would go, or the next... I literally couldn't sleep until I'd finished it!
I read nothing that is popular.
Peter F. Hamilton is one of my favorite science fiction writers. I have to compare him with George R. R. Martin and "A Song of Ice and Fire." Like Martin, Hamilton writes without any editing. Every character in his chapters seems like the main focus of the plot and no detail is left untold.
The "Great North Road" is a daunting read. I've read "Commonwealth Saga" before and that was an excellent series and much longer, but this recent title just seems to be bloated and long with every molecule being explained.
It's an epic story by far and a great modern science fiction, but it's hard to tackle because there is so much detail to comprehend.
I should had pace myself at listening to "Great North Road" because I finished 36 hours in a few days. I should had taken a break because I felt that I was being burned out with the story.
The alien monsters and the revealing of the North is totally worth the listen, but there is a lot of reading before and even after.
Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained in the Commonwealth are much more enjoyable and easier to follow.
I'm a Hard SF & Space Opera-loving, alien android from the future. I bring gifts of SciFi eBooks & accessories for your leader's Kindle. Take me to him/her/it.
Had all the fun and wondrous tech of a PFH story, but I felt it was a good bit longer than necessary. It also has a larger percentage of the story grounded in a terrestrial detective case which drags on slowly for both the characters and the readers. This story was at it's best when it took to the stars and the off-world settings.
It is the year 2142 and in the city of Newcastle there is a mystery that needs to be solved. Police detective Sidney Hurst is called on the scene when a body is fished out of the Tyne river. As soon as he lays eyes on the corpse with the wound in the chest he knows that he is in deep - the body is a North. The North family is the most powerful family across humanity's interstellar expanse and they run Northumberland Interstellar which is responsible for providing all of the bio fuel humanity relies on. Nobody messes with the North family and of course their response to any threat is swift and brutal. Someone will be convicted of this crime and it will happen quickly and he is now stuck in the middle of this mess.
That set-up may sound like this is a simple little sci-fi murder mystery but that is far from the truth. This book is over 1000 pages long and the audiobook clocks in at over 36 hours. As Sid starts the investigation into this murder case he begins to unravel a giant ball of yarn. The Norths are a family of clones and there is an unfortunate side effect to the cloning process used to create them . Each generation of North begins to degrade until they become unstable thus limiting their numbers. The murder victim is a 2North, which is 2nd generation and near the top of North family hierarchy. The method used to kill the North is also of significance because of how unique it is. Five blades were inserted into the victim's heart and used to shred it to pieces, most likely five blades attached to the end of someone's fingers.
What makes this very interesting is that the same method was used to kill Bartram North 22 years earlier. Angela Trumelo was convicted of that murder but she remains imprisoned to this day so she is not a suspect. However, she always claimed that she didn't do it and that an "alien" being murdered Bartram and ran off. After being arrested, Angela was tortured and subjected to every known interrogation method to extract the truth from her yet her story never waivered. With this second murder it looks like it might be possible that Angela was actually telling the truth. Is there some kind of alien being running around Newcastle? With the inter-planetary gateway to St Libra in Newcastle is it possible that some sort of sentient alien lifeform snuck through?
This investigation takes place in a rich universe where the HDA (Human Defense Alliance) is tasked with protecting human planets from the Zanth. These entities seem to swarm in from another dimension to swallow up whole planets and devour everything in their path. The Zanth are a force that the HDA has little ability to resist so the possibility that yet another sentient alien being could exist is very intriguing to them.
So with the familiar forces of police, military, and business working mostly against each other, Sid's investigation faces one challenge after another. It all makes for some good science fiction that keeps you interested the whole time. There is a nice mix of new and familiar here and Hamilton does a good job of teasing out possibilities without revealing too much. If you are looking for a nice long listen this one is worthy of your consideration and Toby Longworth does a pretty good job on the narration
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
There was a great threading of story like a tapestry. However the large party evacuating the base required arduous number of repetitive encounters to kill everyone off. Same plot...monster show up, monster kill, nobody can hurt monster, monster leave, repeat AD INFINITUM, AD NAUSEUM. Streamline storyline by starting with fewer evacuees or killing off more folks. In spite of the tedium still a good scifi read
Hamilton managed to incorporate all of my favorite drink genre. Space, mystery and horror. Kudos!!
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.
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