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.
great read from start to finish. the build up of the story and the complexity involved adds to the enjoyment.
"Long Book, but well worth the investment"
Took a while for me to get into the book, lots of characters and different strands to the story between past and future means that you need to pay attention all the time, but by the end i was wanting more.
The characters are well thought out and built up over time and the story runs along at a good pace.
One extra note - the narrator Toby Longworth is amazing, he must act out 20 completely different voices in the book absolutely outstanding effort.
"The Best Science Fiction Audiobook On Audible?"
I have listened to many many sci fi titles on Audible and fear this may be the best.
Incredible story, Author and the Best Narrator. Get it, Enjoy it!
"Good, but not his best work"
where did that come from?
the fact that you have no idea whats going on the whole time, and only get the full story at the very end.
The whomping willows (i dont have a top character, i liked the whole police squad but found the North's irritating)
i thought the book was good, but pfh has done FAR better in the past, the judus unchained and alchemist universes are more largely scaled and have some moments that really make you think, i would reccomend him above any other author if your looking for space opera.
The book is worth reading however and you were never 100% in the know, every time you thought you now who did it something alters your perspective as a reader, i didnt like how in part 2 everything was given away quite so unceremoniously nearer the end but its something i can easily live with as pfh's concepts and foresight beat any other sci-fi author i have yet to read.
I recommend -
His Joshua novels to readers who are looking for something very dark and graphic.
His Commonwealth novels for space opera lovers
His Greg Mandel novels to readers who want something closer on the timescale and to readers who like detective novels (With bionic panthers)
"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.
"Hamilton returns to form"
Immersive. Compelling. Addictive!
Angela Tramelo [ne of the key characters] is remarkably well written and, ultimately, very cool indeed.
It's epic all the way to the end. Without spoilers it's hard to describe but there's a sequence where some of the lead characters find themselves in a somewhat unexpected climate change. It's compelling.
I felt very strongly that if I worked at HBO I'd greenlight this as the next "Game of Thrones" big-budget TV series.
Hamilton operating at 110%. Brilliant.
"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).
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