It's the 21st century, and global warming is here to stay, so forget the way your country used to look. And get used to the free market, too – the companies possess all the best hardware, and they're calling the shots now. In a world like this, a man open to any offers can make out just fine.
A man like Greg Mandel for instance, who's psi-boosted, wired into the latest sensory equipment, carrying state-of-the-art weaponry – and late of the English Army's Mindstar Battalion. As the cartels battle for control of a revolutionary new power source, and corporate greed outstrips national security, tension is mounting to boiling point – and Greg Mandel is about to face the ultimate test.
©2011 Peter Hamilton (P)2011 Audible Ltd
Relative to Hamilton's more recent work (the Commonwealth Saga), Mindstar Rising is clearly not in the same league. That said, this 1st book of the Greg Mandel trilogy demonstrates the talent that has emerged as one of preeminent contemporary scifi authors. Mindstar is simply not as ambitious, nor as sweeping in scope as his later work, but the story is masterfully done and a thoroughly enjoyable listen.
We are presented with the limits of a near future tale (still near future due to the identifiability with the characters' daily routines), set late in the 21st century. Both environmental (in the form of global warming) and political (in the form of economic upheaval leading to vicious UK socialism) changes have occurred. Greg Mandel is a former UK soldier, discharged by the new, anti-military government. The Mindstar unit was a special ops group that received early experimental bioimplants. Mandel has an "esp" sense to detect mental states in others close by. He does not "read" minds, but can sense emotional reactions.
Greg is hired by a wealthy, elderly businessman and his granddaughter to track down what is thought to be sabotage within their manufacturing facilities (some of which are space based). What appears as straightforward corporate espionage and hardball takeover tactics gradually evolves into a life or death struggle with national political ramifications. For the major scifi elements, biology and cyber dominate along the lines of a William Gibson / Richard K Morgan love child.
The characters are wonderfully developed with vile villains and endearing supporting characters. The narrator performs an admirable rendition for the range of characters.
Sci-fi/Fantasy geek :)
Peter F. Hamilton has more sci-fi imagination in his little typing finger than most authors have in their whole body! At times, it was all I could do to keep up with all the ideas and jargon he was throwing at me. Listening to the audio version makes it even more difficult to digest everything, so you'd better not try to listen to this book while operating heavy machinery.
Just listen to the first chapter and you will know that Mr. Hamilton is a certified sci-fi genius. He brings along some of the "inventions" from his previous books, but just enough to make you recognize his fingerprint. In this book, the scope is more narrowly contained to a single planet, which must have been like trying to keep Robin Williams on a single topic, but he does cover much of the planet (and the space above it, and below the surface of the water). This book pulls a few pages from The Windup Girl and Daemon, very smart. I can't wait for Book 2!
New sci fi approach, unconventional and dysotopian future world. Mixed genre of scifi and detective without one being more dominant.
The psi abilities opened quite a few possibilities strands. It was quite coherent and the narrative stayed true throughout. Despite being a triology, it could stand on itself as a single sci fi / detective novel.
His standard voice can be a bit grating, but overall was OK.
Psi mutant detective vs greed in a dysotopian world.
It's a good book, once you get past initial scene setting. The last 3rd of the book was stretched - but that's a minor fault, if at all.
A lot of time was wasted listening to endless descriptions of the surroundings into minute detail. I found myself zoning out from boredom, and had to rewind a few times as something important was missed.
The stereo types were just too much. It was like reading a short story from a womans magazine. The rich beautiful is evil to the bone, the hero is a rightous guy and the game between them and their alles is predictable. I like a book where there are grays and surprises. None here.
Perhaps. This is my first, and even though the story was easy to see through, it was still entertaining.
The narrator was easy to understand. Sometimes when they have to portray a tough guy, he ends up sounding dumb as a door. I was left with that impression of the hero, even though he was quite smart.
I actually do not know. I would have listened to another more interesting story, but I still wanted to know how it ended.
Obviously an "early" Hamilton. It reads smoothly and the narrator is pleasant, but he's still learning to develop his plots. This isn't the epic thriller you will come to love in the star flyer wars in the Pandora's Star/Judas Unchained series or the Void Series but you'll grow to like the characters and there's pretty good action mixed in to keep action junkies like me happy. If you like his style in his later books read this series and if you give it time it will grow on you, if you're not sure or a new reader of Peter F Hamilton, his later books are his best and these are simply good so whatever you do don't put these down and leave Hamilton until you've tasted the good stuff.
All three of these stories are great, fast moving stories set in a world it is easy to believe in that still has plenty of surprises. Peter Hamilton is a master and it is great to have these three stories online now also. Highly recommended, although I think the first one was the best one.
I remember reading an interview with Larry Niven where he explained that detective science fiction is hard to write due to how easy deus ex machina via technology is. When you consider this, Peter F. Hamilton does an incredible job. The main character has a gland that gives him a form of ESP, though it is more of an empathy enhancer that gives him insight into the emotional state of a person but also heightens his intuition. Another character can see the future. So the exploits are obvious but Hamilton does an incredible job of keeping these abilities realistic with clear boundaries so the story is not destroyed by technology. For instance, the character who can see into the future does not see future events but future possibilities. She determines likely outcomes by seeing how many versions of the future converge on a particular event.
This detective story focuses on industrial espionage and politics. There are some attempted murders with the most interesting attempt being on a computer that is essentially a downloaded human mind. The mystery, however, is a bit on the obvious side with me figuring out who the mole was long before the hero. Still, the future that is portrayed is very interesting and kind of scary when you look at the modern state of the world. Some people have described it as a dystopian future, but it is more of the beginning of a rebirth of the world after a dystopian age.
If you liked the other Peter F. Hamilton books available then you will probably enjoy this one, but I would recommend listening to Commonwealth series (Pandora's Star, Judas Unchained, and the Void trilogy) first if you have not already listened to them.
After about 3 hours I just couldn't enjoy this story. I've read several books by Hamilton and loved all the rest, but this one just couldn't get my interest. I may be biased by my dislike for psychic abilities in stories. If you want Hamilton at his greatest try Pandora's Star, but be warned you might get addicted to a series of long books. ( the kind I look for most)
I have listened to and read most of Hamilton's works, and though I enjoyed this one a lot, it doesn't stack up to his later Novels. Hamilton's brilliance is in crafting expansive epics with a diverse cast of brilliant and intrepid characters. This novel, while imaginative, simply lacks the scope, scale, and depth that lend greatness to some of his later works. I am still sincerely hoping that an audio publisher decides to put his Night's Dawn trilogy on here eventually!
Absolutely. I've been a fan of Peter F. Hamilton after going through his later works, and wanted more of his style - which is deceptively subtle, fast paced, and very engaging.
Greg Mandell - He's a few years removed from military service and while still retaining his edge, more human. He appreciates the way of soldiers without being reduced to a simpleton military mindset. Adding psi empathic abilities to a solider makes for really good reading.
I had to look this book up again just to make sure Toby Longworth was the only narrator - he's simply fantastic! He gives each character not only a distinct voice, but also personality. He is smashing! One of the best readers I've ever come-across.
You can't hide the truth from him...
Given was written in the early 90s, the setting is eerily apt and poignant right now. Near future sci-fi, elements of cyberpunk, corporate scandal and detective story to boot and Toby Longworth's performance (because that's what it is) is first class. Highly recommended!
"Sixth Star for Toby Longworth."
I have had a print edition of this book since the late nineties. It is one of those books we all have that are the equivalent of comfort eating for the mind. I must admit I was sceptical about an audio edition as I had some definite ( or so I thought ) ideas as to how the characters sounded. These thoughts were blown away by Toby's performance. It is like listening to an ensemble reading but from one man. This should be a recording that they give to all budding readers and say .... Like That One Please.
"Good book, excellent narration"
Hamilton is always good value and the narration from Toby Longworth was top-notch and has prompted me to look for other books he has narrated.
An early Peter Hamilton novel which lacks his later polish but enjoyable never the less. Toby Longworth's excellent narration was worth an extra star.
"Intelligent, well crafted and absorbing spaceopera"
I listen to audio books on long car journeys - if they are any good then the journey appears to take no time at all. Listening to this, the first of the Mindstar trilogy, caused me to enter a time-space vortex in which I was transported nearly 200 K without any sensation of movement, time or other reality. My esper sense clearly helped me to drive while the gland secretions enabled me to do so safely - either that or the other road users just gave me a wide berth. I cannot believe this was narrated by one person; awesome is the only real reaction. I particularly liked the evocation of one of the evil characters who sounded remarkably like a former UK prime minister!!! I think you either love sci-fi or just don't get it. If you love it - you will definitely get this. My feeling about what makes a really good audio book (or any book come to that) is - are the characters believable, do you care about the characters and what is/will happen to them, is the plot immersive and does it make you want to guess? I would answer yes to all those points and just say that the creation of England post global-warming is intelligent and very well articulated. I loved the idea of Peterborough becoming a major sea port and a kool place to live - now that really is science fantasy.
"Brilliant Sci Fi Story & Setting"
This is an excellent read if you are into "not too distant future" sci fi. Present day politics, companies etc, but with twists. The story doesn't hold you by the hand, from the get go it used terms (mimox crystals etc) I wasn't sure on, I thought had I missed something from another one of Peter Hamiltons books. But things are revealed bit by bit and I have to say, I rather liked it like that. Not explaining everything as soon as it appears, the story lets you piece this world together yourself, but does expand on it later. A great story, excellent world and Greg Mandel is now number 3 in my list of top main characters, after Jack Reacher (Lee Child) and John Clarke (Tom Clancy). I am definitely getting the second and third parts of the trilogy, and will probably get the rest of Peter Hamiltons books, on the back of this great story.
"Good PFH story"
Well I did enjoy this and am going to listen to the rest of the trilogy. It is early work and quite amusing. By setting it in the near future - the future we are now in - he is very close to reality in some respects and miles away in others. His references to obsolete trade names for example is amusing but irritating. If we write a book now about 5 years in the future will we talk about Apple i products? I am sure there will be a icommunicator watch for example..... but do enjoy guys!
"Didn't think I would like this"
After listening to the void trilogy I was looking for something else from Peter Hamilton but these didn't appeal to me, I think the near future bit and name put me off. However when I decided to give this a go I was hooked. I still prefer the distant future novels but this was very enjoyable and have since purchased the remaining 2 books. Would definitely recommend no messing.
"buy the follow on books"
bought this as a reduced price audio book liking sci-fi detective/thriller type books, the narrator is absolutely brilliant with a great range of voices and great character portrayal the pace of the story is easy and i found myself stopping what i was doing to listen as this book totally absorbed me, I have bought books 2 and 3 and have enjoyed the whole series. this is the first time I have felt compelled to write a review
Yes. The idea of it being 'just' into the future means that although there are science elements that we dont have, it is totally believable as a future that may come to pass.
The characters are well rounded, you are drawn into their persona very well.
The story keeps you hooked with several twists.
Up until this book (apart from the odd star wars novel) i was strictly an epic high fantasy reader. I fancied a change and picked this out at random. For the first 3 chapters i thought i had made a terrible mistake and my prejudice against anything not high fantasy started bubbling up. The further into the book i got, i found myself taking every spare few minutes to listen to a bit more.
I can say with 100% conviction that this book put my prejudice against non high fantasy firmly in its place. It was a thoroughly enjoyable listen, making me get the next two books in the Greg Mandel series.
Special mention should be given to Toby Longworth, WOW! this is how all audio books should be read!
The clear narration, devoid of accent. His ability to voice each character in a slightly different way meant you could tell them just by the sound of his voice and not need the narration to explain anything at all. His pacing was excellent as well, you felt the energy in his reading as the tense and action pints of the story arose.
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