Tom Dreyfus is a Prefect, a law enforcement officer with the Panoply. His beat is the multifaceted utopian society of the Glitter Band, that vast swirl of space habitats orbiting the planet Yellowstone, the teeming hub of a human interstellar empire spanning many worlds. His current case: investigating a murderous attack against one of the habitats that left 900 people dead, a crime that appalls even a hardened cop like Dreyfus. But then his investigation uncovers something far more serious than mass slaughter---a covert plot by an enigmatic entity who seeks nothing less than total control of the Glitter Band. Before long, the Panoply detectives are fighting against something worse than tyranny, in a struggle that will lead to more devastation and more death. And Dreyfus will discover that to save what is precious, you may have to destroy it.
©2008 Alastair Reynolds (P)2011 Tantor
"A fascinating hybrid of space opera, police procedural and character study.... This is solid British SF adventure, evoking echoes of le Carre and Sayers with a liberal dash of Doctor Who." (Publishers Weekly)
Enjoy the adventure
In the distant future, Humans have reached the golden age. Many have relocated to a distant solar system and built 10,000 artificial habitats which are designed to fulfill a fantasy or provide access to a unique lifestyle. An innocuous computer program error sets events in motion that, if unchecked, will lead to the genocide of humanity in this futuristic Garden of Eden. A detective (prefect) with the single minded purpose to bring justice to those who break the law is determined to track down those who are responsible. But can he succeed against a mind that is vastly more intelligent?
Published in 2007, this was one of my favorite books of 2014. There is action, intrigue, twists and a villain who is meant to be hated. And, as always with Alastair Reynolds, technology that I wish I could purchase at Amazon. While part of the “Revelation Space” series, it is a stand-alone book and covers events that precede other books in the series.
Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).
What is going on here? I don’t know if there is something wrong with me or that Alastair Reynolds is just a very inconsistent writer. I have truly enjoyed some parts of every one of his books, but, except for CHASM CITY, none has kept up the magic all the way through. His other works all seem to get bogged down with convoluted far-future concepts that are so far removed from actual human experience so as to be incomprehensible. You can listen to them just for those gems but there is a lot mush to slog through to get to those precious stones. I began listening to Alastair Reynolds based on the recommendation of several fellow listeners who had touted him as the modern-day master of Space Opera Science Fiction. They recommended the novel CHASM CITY as the best introduction to his Revelation Space series. And they were right. CHASM CITY is fantastic. It is the most accessible of all the novels in the series. It is the best written, has the best characters and the most fantastic “sense of wonder” technology of them all. I have now listened to, REVELATION SPACE, REDEMPTION ARK, ABSOLUTION GAP, and now THE PREFECT.. This novel THE PREFECT does have some nice blending of detective fiction with SF but is misses on so many levels. One of the prime characteristics of the Detective Fiction genre are the gritty hard-edged characters. Listening to this book actually affected my mood. My expectations were so high going in that I really needed this one to be great. After the wonderful introduction to Alastair Reynolds that I had with CHASM CITY; I hung in there through the three central novels of the series, and THE PREFECT, thinking that surely there would be a big, big payoff after so much SF world building background. I mean I hung in there for over 100 hours of John Lee whispering in my ear about indoctrinal viruses, Inhibitor genocide machines, processing Cathedrals, inertial inhibitors, Alternate Universes, longevity treatments, baseline humans, Conjoiner Ultras, Time Travel, Cryo-arithmetic engines, and talking pigs, and I wanted some reward. I got bupkis. I believe I can safely say that the best way to enjoy the Revelation Space series is to start by listening to CHASM CITY and then…stop.
This is a bad detective novel lent credibility by Reynolds ability to write good speculative fiction. At times, the writing feels lazy and contrived, forcing characters into situations through auspicious circumstances or really poor decision making that fulfill the literary checklist for writing fiction novels. While this may be because Reynolds got bored writing the book and just wanted it to conclude, it feels more like he lacks any real understanding of how large organizations operate, replete with politics and how senior executives operate in their lofty positions. Thus the human side of the story suffers from amateurish over-simplicity while the sci-fi elements try to rescue an increasing irritating plot that was seemingly written for the sole purpose of setting the final chapter's stage.
On the plus side, John Lee's reading was excellent. He delivers his usual range of characterizations, which are both pleasant to listen to and provide a clear picture of whom is speaking and when.
The Prefect ranks very high in my top five. I just want more of this universe of the glitter band.
Tell us about yourself!
For my money, it doesn't get any better than Alastair Reynolds. He has become the master of hard Science Fiction, particularly his Revelation Space series. This book serves as a prequel to the events of both Chasm City and The Revelation Space Trilogy. The Prefect is, at its heart, a police procedural yet it functions as a vital piece of the overall story that plays out through the four other Revelation Space novels. The book is written as well as any mystery out there and it's easily one of the best Science Fiction novels of 2007. As for the narration - I admit that I strongly disliked John Noble as the narrator at first, particularly his plethora of regional English, Welsh, and Scottish accents but having now listened to a half dozen of his narrations of Reynold's works he's grown on me and I've come to enjoy his narration.
I only have a handful of Sci-Fi to rank it with and I would put this at about the mid point... if I could ignore the narration, I could give it better marks.
The narration was the sticking point for me on this audiobook. Lee gives very little life to most of the characters and his accent lends itself to about two-three variations. His pauses between between words became predictable and were kept between characters. It really became annoying.
Annoyance at times... but again, due to the narration. Not sure why people enjoy Lee so much. But I have not heard any of his other work... maybe it is just me.
The Prefect is a great sci-fi story. The tech is really inventive. The plot is unique. Some of the character interaction is a little bit unbelievable and at times brings what should be a climatic pace down to a crawl. I attribute this partly to the narration.
I'm a Big fan of Fantasy and Sci-Fi. I don't have a long history with reading books but most of what i find is enjoyable. My favorite series i have ever come across is Dresden Files.
This book is amazing, the entirety of the book is based around multiple mysterious entities and events that take form in the Glitter Band. In a very distant future where death can be suspended by digital copies, thousands of space stations each very different from the next all being guarded and regulated by Prefects. These Prefects have the power to uphold justice and order but have limited powers. They face an extinction level event that would wipe out the entire Glitter Band.
This story I found starts out somewhat slow with an investigation, being new to space opera and audible in general i found it somewhat taxing. However soon things begun to unravel turning this book into one of my favorites yet. If you enjoy mysteries, science fiction or crime fighting this great book packs it all into one exciting adventure.
The narrator John Lee did it for me. Listening to the James Clavell books - including Shogun - where he narrates lead me to this book. John Lee is fantastic.
This book is a great read. A good story and good characters. An interesting idea and worrying if we ever get there!
A bit of detective and a bit of Sci Fi. I listen to a lot of Michael Connolly and Ian Rankin and love the underdog but clever detective - Dreyfus here is the same, but set in a a completely different scenario to what I usually read.
I really enjoyed it and could not stop.
One of the better novels of the Revelation Space series, this is a prequel happening before any of the other books including Chasm City. I would have liked to see more of the "wonders" of the Belle'Epoque and I do feel the ending was a bit rushed. One caveat I have with Reynolds' work is that they are not action-packed. He much prefers for the "action" to be the revelation of events through characters' dialogue and info dumps. Overall this is a solid detective story that I would put on par with Chasm City, but still underneath Redemption Ark and House of Suns.
Great story and a great narrator, John Lee! I've enjoyed all of the books that Mr. Lee has narrated by Mr. Reynolds.
"Not bad at all"
I've gone through a bout of Alastair recently. Took me a while to get into his first one in this universe, but once I did, I've gone through them all. Like other people say, Alistair is weak when it comes to satisfying endings.
Out of all the books in the series (and I know this is a bit of a side-line story) I think it was the best. You could probably listen to it without listening to anything else in the series and get 95% of the enjoyment out of it.
I havent read the print version, but I am a big fan of alastair reynolds
Fast paced, full of action and thrilling all the way through
The revelation towards the end about the clockmaker - brilliant
at nearly 20 hours, that would have been difficult.
Thouroughly recommended, one of his best books yet.
"An absolute cracker"
This is the first novel, chronologically, in Alastair Reynolds' "Revelation Space" series, though it stands on its own without problem. And it's an absolute cracker - wonderfully well-drawn SF backdrop, great characters and complicated plot, and a driving narrative that never lets up. There are one or two holes in the plot, but these are forgiveable, and I thought the ending well judged, unlike one of the other reviewers.
John Lee narrates superbly - great pace, well judged tone and draws the characters very well.
Best book in the RS series, and recommended.
"Stand alone story in Revelation Space."
Enjoyable well performed. Some interesting accents for this interstellar community but this adds to the story and helps identify the protagonists well.
I recommend it for fans of the author.
"Reynolds can not write 'endings'"
This book has a great plot, and builds up beautifully with multiple protagonists, but then all that tension and potential for excitement just dissipates away like so much nebula gas.
Part of me only wants to give it 1 star, but it was so good for so long, that I can't quite lower the score that far.
Sadly, this is the second Alastair Reynolds book I have read, and for the second time I have been very disappointed by the ending. Admittedly the previous book was only the first in the 'Revelation Space' trilogy; but 'The Prefect' is a stand alone book set in the same universe, and again I feel betrayed by the ending.
And reviews of the final book in the 'Revelation Space' trilogy would seem to show he can't even write 'endings' for sequences of books, never mind single books.
So much potential followed by so much disappointment means I won't be buying any other Reynolds books from now on.
"A bit rubbish"
Go and buy something by Iain M Banks instead. Use Alastair Reynolds as last resort.
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