From Publishers Weekly
Set in the 24th century, bestseller Hamilton's richly satisfying space opera is less a sequel to Pandora's Star
(2004) than the second half of one dauntingly complicated, wonderfully imagined novel. The diverse human Commonwealth is fighting back against the implacably hostile mass-mind Prime, while discovering that agents of another hostile alien force are sabotaging war efforts. In a multitude of subplots, Hamilton adroitly leaps from the struggles of one engaging, quirky character to another. Meanwhile, the main action expands and the super-scientific weapons become increasingly terrible. Then the story shifts focus and presents a moral question: if it's now possible to wipe out the Prime, is it permissible to commit genocide? Hamilton demonstrates that humans not only can shape huge masses of data to their own ends but also can recognize when to stop doing so. Some of the people manage to transcend their small, personal concerns—sometimes. The density of detail may slow readers down, but the distinctive characters and the plot's headlong drive will pull them along. In more ways than one, this two-part work is monumental. (Feb. 28)
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Hamilton takes up the many loose ends of Pandora's Star
(2004) and reveals the vast, sprawling conspiracies permeating the big story's interplanetary commonwealth. So much evidence of the Starflyer's existence has been amassed that even the most skeptical begin believing, although it rapidly becomes clear that there are Starflyer agents at the top of the government and the navy. The aliens are busy entrenching themselves on newly conquered worlds, while those planets' few remaining survivors wage futile guerrilla war against them. With humanity being dangerously outnumbered, the governing body desperately seeks a weapon to neutralize the aliens. What it finally comes up with is so devastating as to be genocidal. A showdown is becoming inevitable, however, and perhaps the commonwealth must use the superweapon. In the eleventh hour, the man best suited for the job applies quick thinking and underhanded behavior to the matter. Hamilton has, as usual, produced a dense, engaging space opera that satisfyingly balances shoot-'em-up action and thoughtful debate. Regina SchroederCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved