In Newcastle-upon-Tyne, AD 2142, Detective Sidney Hurst attends a brutal murder scene. The victim is one of the wealthy North family clones - but none have been reported missing. And the crime’s most disturbing aspect is how the victim was killed.
Twenty years ago, a North clone billionaire and his household were horrifically murdered in exactly the same manner, on the tropical planet of St Libra. But if the murderer is still at large, was Angela Tramelo wrongly convicted? Tough and confident, she never waivered under interrogation - claiming she alone survived an alien attack. But there is no animal life on St Libra. Investigating this alien threat becomes the Human Defence Agency’s top priority. The bio-fuel flowing from St Libra is the lifeblood of Earth’s economy and must be secured. So a vast expedition is mounted via the Newcastle gateway, and teams of engineers, support personnel, and xenobiologists are dispatched to the planet. Along with their technical advisor, grudgingly released from prison, Angela Tramelo. But the expedition is cut off, deep within St Libra’s rainforests.
Then the murders begin. Someone or something is picking off the team one by one. Angela insists it’s the alien, but her new colleagues aren’t so sure. Maybe she did see an alien, or maybe she has other reasons for being on St Libra....
This is a stunning standalone adventure, by a writer at the height of his powers.
©2012 Peter F. Hamilton (P)2012 Pan Macmillian Publishers Ltd
"Mary Sue protagonist, story drags on"
I really struggled with this one, I thought the premise was good and I love the 'branch' of the story detailing the police investigation in Newcastle set in a futurist context. The expedition to St Libra however drags and their is little to know progression in the understanding of the killings that set everything into motion, until a point towards the end where everything is given away. I felt no point reading it after that as given the personality/capabilities of the main protagonist the ending was little to no surprise to me but more importantly I didn't really care either.
The central character can only really be described as a Mary Sue almost 'superhero' certainly superhuman character not just in ability but also personality. Theirs nothing really redeeming and whenever a crisis strikes in the story you know she's just going to slap it around a bit and come out ahead. I found her unbelievable.
I found the author relied heavily on gender stereotypes and found it amusing that whilst he can confidently communicate future technology as a concept used by people in everyday life. His depiction of individuals with a religious conviction only showed a general lack of awareness of the subject and instead relied on cliches to the point that is painful to listen to.
I did like the writing style, the detail, the descriptive use of language and the narration were all very good but the plot writing falls short.
"A solid fare"
The story is pretty good. Certainly loads of characters and politcs to get into and a solid realisation of one possible future. I felt sometimes that Hamilton wanted to keep us guessing by writing something surprising that would sort itself out when eventually worked out how he was going to do it. Its nice enough but too often left this overly drawn out story coasting along. I was glad for having read it but will be cautious about reading more like this as there are quite a few books out there which are just a lot more gripping. The story was read competently but didn't blow me away.
"Finally reached the end of the road"
I tend not to revisit books, but I have already played some scenes again just to make sure that I understood it all.
Although a long listen, and my first real Audible book, the end wasn't a chore to reach, and the pace picked up. I felt sad for the loss.
Sid: the Geordie copper.
"In Newcassle, no-one gives a **** if you scream"
Taught me how to use bookmarks through this long fictional listen.
Story clichéd, but an excellent performance, and good to see author's view of future-tech usage. I'd listen to more from the author/narrator in the same background.
"4 stars for price, 5 stars for content"
I did not know this author before listening to Great North Road. I think it was the combination of science fiction and being set in Newcastle (where I have just moved to) that caught my eye. I am glad I did.
It is gritty, well written and I think plausible about the future of the world and the use of its resources.
Like other reviews, being split into two, thus twice the price of most other books might put some people off (and I agree with the other reviewers that this is a bit of a swizz!) but if you think it is long, stay with it as the characters develop, the plots intertwine and get more tricky. I think I changed my mind about the murdered about half a dozen times.
"Entertaining listening from Peter f Hamilton"
I have recently taken up audio books as it affords me more time to persue other mandatory tasks like, food shopping and waiting in line to bail out the banks. That said, Hamilton has brought to life another futuristic scene that can easily be aligned with the present day. New planets based around the current places in society today, technology that will no doubt exist in the next few years and endless possibilities that long range space travel can bring us. The narrator brings all the characters to life in their ow unique way. A bored drawl, an exited jordie accent, a superior tone, each characteristic is maintained and incredibly vivid through out the book. I must say I really enjoyed listening to this new addition from Hamilton. I will say that the author does end the story quite abruptly (as he does with so many of his titles). So abrupt in fact that I am left with a feeling like I have walked into a plain glass window (but I still want more).
"A good introduction to Peter F Hamilton"
The Great North Road was the first Peter Hamilton book I read/listened. The size of his volumes were the main reason why i never picked one up before. However, for me, this was an excellent story to introduce me to his writing.
I know this is a stand alone novel, and Peter Hamilton has stated that he will probably not return to this world again. Therefore it is safe for people who do not want to start on a lengthy series.
The story starts off with a murdered clone, and takes the reader/listener on a journey to investigate the murder. This is done by the police, with support from high technology. The other half of the story relates to a genetically modified woman who is part of an expedition to another world to locate an alien (who is thought to be part of the murder).
The pace of the story is fairly sedate, and I certain that some people will get angered by this. For me, it was at the right pace, and didn't bombard me with a lot of techno babble and concepts that were too high to comprehend. The expedition part of the story was the more interesting, but the police investigation certainly played its part.
I enjoyed the audio. The narrator was clear, threw in an understandable Geordie accent or two and didn't include too many long pauses.
This is a long book and is split over 2 audio books.
"Awesome sci fi action"
Wow. Had me hooked from the beginning. The story doesn't flow as much as I would have liked and it confusing as it jumps across numerous worlds characters and timelines BUT the plot is compelling enough for you to just keep listening as every chapter reveals something that ties in beautifully to the main storyline. Audibles best sci fi? Could be.
My only complaint is that this is split in two parts, but thankfully it's still worth it. I love all of Hamiltons works, and although I did wonder at one stage if this would sputter out instead if explode, I needed have worried as the different characters and story arcs all come together to make sense of a difficult situation. If like me you dislike split books, this one is well worth the cost of admission
"GO ON, LET YOURSELF BE IMMERSED"
A wonderfully compelling story, several inter woven tales converging into a brilliant tale. I liked the fact that it was just a small step from society today, not stretching the imagination so far from reality, colorful but still down to earth ( pun ?), characters that you could warm to and refreshingly human in their traits.
I only listen to my audio books in the car and I found myself driving down the motorway slower and then parking up outside my office for another 10 minutes to finish the chapter, that's a tangible measure of a good story.
Give it a go, loose yourself in a couple of days of someone else's world, you wont regret it.
"Great fun for Geordies"
Anyone who lives in Newcastle upon Tyne will love this one. Most of the action for the detective side of the book is set here, making good use of current landmarks and lifestyles. Those of us who have walked through the Bigg Market on a Saturday night will recognise the opening chapters immediately.
The detective story is the making of the book. The alien element of the plot is far less strong and the ending is predictable. A bit of a shame because the characters and back story are fascinating. I was gripped right up until the end of the book by the strength of that writing - so much so I have bought as a birthday present for a friend.
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