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)
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.
Hard Sci-Fi Connoiseur.
Huge Reynolds fan ... was very excited to read a book about the Glitter Band ecosystem. As always the world is amazing. This book though - the characters didn't quite do it for me. It was almost like they were only there as a way for Reynolds to tell a greater story ... they're not that memorable ... and I didn't care much what happened to them. Overall the story, the politics, the secondary / tertiary characters are solid. So, for Reynolds fans it's a must in that it further fills out the great Revelation Space universe timeline ... but if you have not been introduced yet, start somewhere else.
A well written book is a gem.
I am not a science guy, (English major), but I have become a complete science fiction nerd thanks to Alistair Reynolds. The future he writes about is hopeful and entirely plausible given what we know of the physical world today. In tandem with John Lee's reading this book was a great ride. I read "Pushing Ice" before this one and it's the same high quality read. Give it a shot.
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.
When you take A loose Federalism to the logical extreme (democratic anarchy) in a post-scarcity environment, it opens up a blank canvas for the author's imagination. Reynold's wildly varied societies along with the 'space detective' protagonist remind me of Asimov's Robot novels.
not based on this novel... definitely based on the first three
fill plot holes and technical inconsistencies
skip this novel... the first three are independent and MUCH better. I ended up fast forwarding over large parts of this one... silly tech gaps clearly needed to make the plot work.
I listened to this over a three month period whenever I used the Stairmonster (even if it is a long book, it's a good thing it's not my only form of exercise, eh?). The story kept my interest the entire time. The sci-fi isn't window dressing to the mystery; it's a fully-drawn, complete world. I did guess parts of the mystery and it added to the tension for me (so I imagine it was intentional by the author). The characterization is truly excellent, complemented wonderfully by the narrator, whom I loved. This is the only book I've read (listened to) from the series, so I can say that it does stand alone nicely. I've read other reviews that said I would have appreciated it more if I'd read earlier books which take place chronologically later, though. The ending, while satisfying, was certainly open to a sequel.
I have listened to many of Alastair Reynolds books on Audible, he has created a highly detailed and intriguing universe containing interesting characters and places. The life breath of this universe is the continuity from story to story, that thread of recognition contain in names and places from previous stories, as you listen to each new story. This is just one small aspect of why I look forward to each new installment.
The character of Field Prefect Dryfus as the hard driving cop with the moral imperative to protect the citizens of the Glitter band from the impending collision of a twisted destiny forge by the leftover remnant of an experiment gone badly, is one of Reynolds best.
The performance of each story by John Lee is enthralling, each character uniquely endowed with personality through the force of his vocal nuances.
Dune. Paul Atreides and the fight protect and free that planet.
To many to pick just one!
Just the feeling of awe in this expanding universe.
I was thoroughly enraptured by this story. It's a good old-fashioned detective story with a sci-fi twist. The narration was wonderful, giving the characters their own life.
Narrator John Lee is remarkable: He can suck the life out of any good story. Lee has a deep voice and a fine accent, but those cannot make up for his random inflections, uneven reading style, and complete lack of voice characterization.
I would suggest buying the print copy of this book. Avoid John Lee's narration at all costs.
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