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Publisher's Summary

Critics have compared the engrossing space operas of Peter F. Hamilton to the classic sagas of such SF giants as Isaac Asimov and Frank Herbert. But Hamilton's best-selling fiction - powered by a fearless imagination and world-class storytelling skills - has also earned him comparison to Tolstoy and Dickens. Hugely ambitious, wildly entertaining, philosophically stimulating: the novels of Peter F. Hamilton will change the way you think about science fiction.

Now, with Pandora's Star, he begins a new multi-volume adventure, one that promises to be his most mind-blowing yet. The year is 2380. The Intersolar Commonwealth, a sphere of stars some 400 light-years in diameter, contains more than 600 worlds, interconnected by a web of transport "tunnels" known as wormholes. At the farthest edge of the Commonwealth, astronomer Dudley Bose observes the impossible: Over 1,000 light-years away, a star...vanishes. It does not go supernova. It does not collapse into a black hole. It simply disappears.

Since the location is too distant to reach by wormhole, a faster-than-light starship, the Second Chance, is dispatched to learn what has occurred and whether it represents a threat. In command is Wilson Kime, a five-time rejuvenated ex-NASA pilot whose glory days are centuries behind him. Opposed to the mission are the Guardians of Selfhood, a cult that believes the human race is being manipulated by an alien entity they call the Starflyer.

Bradley Johansson, leader of the Guardians, warns of sabotage, fearing the Starflyer means to use the starship's mission for its own ends. Pursued by a Commonwealth special agent convinced the Guardians are crazy but dangerous, Johansson flees. But the danger is not averted. Aboard the Second Chance, Kime wonders if his crew has been infiltrated.

Soon enough, he will have other worries. A thousand light-years away, something truly incredible is waiting: a deadly discovery, the unleashing of which will threaten to destroy t...

©2004 Peter F. Hamilton; (P)2008 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"The depth and clarity of the future Hamilton envisions is as complex and involving as they come." (Publishers Weekly Starred Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Story

Great Epic Scifi

"Pandora's Star" and its sequel are two of my favorite audiobooks, and I've listened to atleast 50 audiobooks over the last few years.

I do have one warning, the story is fairly slow going at first and there are many characters/subplots. I almost gave up after a few hours, but I'm glad I kept going. I caught myself wishing at points that he'd just stop introducing new characters, but hang in there, the story is well worth the initial effort. Some of the characters who I thought were boring and extranious at first ended up being the most interesting and exciting in the end.

Peter F Hamilton has created a unique new scifi universe in these two books. Like all great Scif universes this is futuristic and imaginative without feeling fake or "made up". The humans still act like humans(with human strengths and flaws) and the aliens are truely alien(not just humans that look different). Hearing about life in the Commonwealth is almost as interesting as the story itself.

I would definitely consider this epic scifi, but there are elements that appeal to the Cyber-punk fan in me. This is certainly edgy with plenty of sex and violence. There aren't that many sex scenes but sexuality is certaintly a driving force in some characters and is often refered to in the context of the story. There are also several homosexual characters, but he hardly makes it into an issue, its just one part of a few characters lives. Its refreshing to have characters who also happen to be gay rather than "gay characters".

Some reviews have been critical of the narrator, don't believe them. I think he did a great job, sure some of his american accents aren't flawless, but give him a break hes obviously british. Each character is easy to distinguish and he does a good job with the individual voices without going overboard(like some narrators when they voice a different gender)

Highly Recomended!!

115 of 122 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Not my cup of tea

The great thing about audible, especially the sales, is that it gives you the chance to try out new authors. If a writer writes a big book, does that make it a great book?

This author has been compared to Frank Herbet and I believe that to be fairly accurate. Other then Dune, what are your favorite FH books?

I really liked the prologue and thought the book would be very exciting. There was an exciting science discovery and the question was what would that lead to. Then we are taken on many side stories. Each chapter starts with the description of a different planet. This includes the fauna, how it was planted, how it grew , what happened to it over the centuries and what is like today. With a James Michener novel, when you know it is a real world this can be interesting, but on a made up planet, not so much.

I wanted to find out what was going to happen with this discovery, but my mind kept wondering. I would tell myself to concentrate and then PH would start describing some non-essential plant or building or waterway and the next thing I knew my mind was thinking about something else. The book is 37 hours long and I kept saying to myself, Stupid you could listen to three Robert J. Sawyer books in that amount of time. You would get the exciting science, maybe some characters you care about without the Hawthorne part. So after Eleven hours I quit and started a Koontz book.

About the sound quality. I don't know who is at fault, but I found listening very hard on my ears. For a couple of hours when ever John lee would start a new sentence the bass would vibrate in my ears, causing pain, as he would continue the sentence he would get quieter and just when it got comfortable, Wham, he would start a new sentence. That stopped for a while and then the volume would change with new chapters. Like watching a tv show and then a commercial comes on louder then the show. I have listened to hundreds of books and I have listened to John Lee before and this has not been a problem in the past.

37 of 39 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • David
  • Houston, TX, United States
  • 10-16-10

A little too much and not enough

Hamilton has done a brilliant job of creating a complex, fascinating and believable future for Mankind. Unfortunately he is a little too much in love with it. He gives us far more detail than we need in order to understand and engage fully with the story. Some readers, perhaps those who delight in spending a lot of time developing elaborate computer sims, will love it. For me, it was often tedious and retarded the momentum of the developing narrative.
I also found it difficult to care about the characters in the book. There are so many and we move back and forth between them so often, that we are constantly dislocated just as one begins to matter to us. This is not to say that they are not interesting or believable--they are. I just don't care what happens to them in the long run.
Which is a problem since the book stops abruptly in the middle of their stories. There is no temporarily satisfying resting place as we contemplate the problems and possibilities which yet remain. It just stops. I was really irritated, and as I have mentioned, I don't care enough about the characters to spend another thirty eight hours plowing through excessive detail to find out what happens to them.
I really wanted to love this book. The author has a fantastic imagination and has created a compelling and convincing plot which allowed me to hang in there in order to find out where it was going. I can understand why many others DO love the book. For me, however, there was just too much and not enough there.

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

An entertaining listen. My one critique...

is that there are often no audio queues, such as a slightly longer pause for breath, signaling the transition from one story arc to the next. The narration often sounds like one extremely long paragraph; which led to moments of confusion before I realized the author had taken me from one arc to another.

80 of 88 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Excellent listen!

My first Peter F. Hamilton book and I was most pleasantly surprised. Big story, lots of characters, interesting and novel ideas all woven together with a talented hand. Looking forward to listening to the sequel and any future books by this author. Remember, when judging a book by the reviews, click on the review writer's name to see what they thought of other books, it can be very enlightening.

49 of 54 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Robert
  • Yamhill, OR, United States
  • 02-27-11

Great book; terrible production

This review relates to both Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained. These are two books of the same series

Firstly the narration: Generally I like the performances of narrator John Lee. I have listened to a number of others of his books including White Tiger, Pillars Of the Earth, Count of Monte Cristo. But the narration in this series leaves much to be desired. This production, while not as bad as Pandora’s Star, is a hopelessly flawed engineering fiasco. One can never tell when there is a change in chapters unless it is stated in the literary context. When there is a change of scene or arc, the narrator just connects the end of the one with the beginning of the next and we are left wondering, where in the universe we are. The variations in modulation are unnatural, distracting and just plain horrible.

However, despite all that Audible has done to detract from the greatness of this selection, it is almost without peer in its greatness. Hamilton creates a world of places, people, aliens and events unlike any I have read. The stories, and there are many, are complex and they all come together in multiple, exciting conclusions. Unlike the series Wheel of Time which seems to go on for several volumes and have very little new to add than what we discovered in the first volume, every part of these two books is fresh, interesting and surprising.

This masterpiece of literature deserved better than the treatment it received by Audible. All of that being said, I could not recommend a selection more highly. It is too good to miss even with all of its detractors.

61 of 68 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Masterful but a very hard listen.

A very detailed story of epic proportion.Pandora's Star is very similar to the epics of Asmov and Tolkien. Lots of alien space wars and assassins, spy's and traitors.
I had to re-listen to the story several times to keep track of the many plot lines. But once you're hooked, you can't put it down.
Read this book before attempting to read the sequel.

21 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Colin
  • atascadero, CA, United States
  • 03-03-09

Fantastic!

At first I was pretty apprehensive about downloading this book as something just seemed a bit too "Sci-fi"about the title and cover art, wow am I glad I did! This book really is incredibly well written and fascinating from end to end. Character and plot development are amazing and it builds tension constantly. There is plenty of action (from political maneuvering to full scale war) to keep you listening. Within the bounds of the created reality everything makes sense and characters react as humans really do. What most impresses me about this work is that it is at times a crime drama, a character driven narration, a sci-fi work, and even a political thriller; truly the scope of this work is impressive!
I think this is the second book of the past 30 I've listened to from Audible I've given 5 stars, quite surprising to me that it's Sci-fi! I can't wait to start Judas Unchained to find out what happens next!

28 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Alan
  • Albuquerque, NM, United States
  • 06-18-11

Come back John Lee, wherever you are!

I don't normally put sci-fi on my list but I found this intriguing and I have enjoyed listening to John Lee read other audio books. This seems to be another John Lee sounding totally bored with what he is reading and the monotonous timbre of his voice is driving me nuts. Also, as others have mentioned, the sound volume seems to be up and down and up and down and up and down. I can see how the story could be a fascinating read but listening to it is kind of like water torture. Sorry Mr. Lee but it's a no go for me. I could easily see picking up a copy of the book and reading it. In fact I probably will. I'm finding this was a waste of a credit. I wish Audible would have am exchange program so I could trade it in for something else.

25 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Michael
  • Pleasant View, UT, USA
  • 04-04-09

If only the narrator was as good as this book!

The story is great! I couldn't wait to get back to it once I put it down. The people, places, and aliens are well thought-out and highly detailed. You can easily get engrossed in this great book - and picture yourself right there in the middle of the action. I CAN'T WAIT for the next one!!

Unfortunately, the worst part about this book was the narrator. His constant change in volume required me to get out my sound-cancelling head phones just to listen to it in my vehicle during my commute because of the constant need to turn the volume knob up and down! He would go from a normal speaking tone down to a whisper for no apparent reason - making you crank the volume - then he would speak normally again causing the speakers to pop and crack because they were maxed out! I also had a hard time following the change in speakers. From man-to-woman - or man-to-boy, I would have to do some quick calculations of what was said to assume who said it.

If you have a quiet room or some nice noise-cancelling headphones this is good audio-book of a great book!

29 of 33 people found this review helpful