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Misspent Youth (The Commonwealth Saga) [Kindle Edition]

Peter F. Hamilton
2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $10.99
Sold by: Random House LLC


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New Adult Fiction by Rainbow Rowell
Acclaimed author Rainbow Rowell's latest book, Landline, offers a poignant, humorous look at relationships and marriage. Learn more

Book Description

Readers have learned to expect the unexpected from Peter F. Hamilton. Now the master of space opera focuses on near-future Earth and one most unusual family. The result is a coming-of-age tale like no other. By turns comic, erotic, and tragic, Misspent Youth is a profound and timely exploration of all that divides and unites fathers and sons, men and women, the young and the old.

2040. After decades of concentrated research and experimentation in the field of genetic engineering, scientists of the European Union believe they have at last conquered humankind’s most pernicious foe: old age. For the first time, technology holds out the promise of not merely slowing the aging process but actually reversing it. The ancient dream of the Fountain of Youth seems at hand.

The first subject for treatment is seventy-eight-year-old philanthropist Jeff Baker. After eighteen months in a rejuvenation tank, Jeff emerges looking like a twenty-year-old. And the change is more than skin deep. From his hair cells down to his DNA, Jeff is twenty–with a breadth of life experience.

But while possessing the wisdom of a septuagenarian at age twenty is one thing, raging testosterone is another, as Jeff discovers when he attempts to pick up his life where he left off. Suddenly his oldest friends seem, well, old. Jeff’s trophy wife looks better than she ever did. His teenage son, Tim, is more like a younger brother. And Tim’s nubile girlfriend is a conquest too tempting to resist.

Jeff’s rejuvenated libido wreaks havoc on the lives of his friends and family, straining his relationship with Tim to the breaking point. It’s as if youth is a drug and Jeff is wasted on it. But if so, it’s an addiction he has no interest in kicking.

As Jeff’s personal life spirals out of control, the European Union undergoes a parallel meltdown, attacked by shadowy separatist groups whose violent actions earn both condemnation and applause. Now, in one terrifying instant, the personal and the political will intersect, and neither Jeff nor Tim–or the Union itself–will ever be the same again.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

British space opera author Hamilton (The Dreaming Void) isn't quite up to his usual standards in this cautionary tale about tinkering with the human body. Several decades in the future, life has been revolutionized by the datasphere, the Internet's successor, made possible by the memory crystal. Its inventor, Jeff Baker, has been universally lionized following his altruistic refusal to patent the design. Baker, now 77, is selected by the Eurohealth Council as the guinea pig for a new biotechnology that replaces his aged genes, giving him the body of a 20-year-old. Unfortunately, the goal of the experiment—to have Baker's genius applied to energy conservation—is derailed by his raging hormones, which lead him to hit on every attractive woman in sight, including his teenage son's girlfriend. The predictable ensuing scenes of passion and parent-child conflict are not particularly interesting, and the unconvincing sentimental ending likewise disappoints. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Praise for Peter F. Hamilton

Misspent Youth

“[A] genuinely superb novel by any standards . . . Not to be missed.”

The Dreaming Void

“Peter F. Hamilton [is the] owner of the most powerful imagination in science fiction.”
–Ken Follett, author The Pillars of the Earth

Judas Unchained

“For flat-out huge wide-screen all-engines-at-full I-dare-you-not-to-believe-it space opera, there is no one quite like Peter F. Hamilton.”
–Richard K. Morgan, author of Altered Carbon and Thirteen

Pandora’s Star

“Should be high on everyone’s reading list . . . You won’t be able to put it down.”
–Nancy Pearl, National Public Radio

“Imaginative and stunning . . . a book of epic proportions not unlike Frank Herbert’s Dune or Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy.”

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 480 KB
  • Print Length: 418 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0345461649
  • Publisher: Del Rey (September 16, 2008)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001FA0JWI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #303,800 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok, but not what I've come to expect from Hamilton September 27, 2004
Peter Hamilton is probably my favorite author for his Night's Dawn Trilogy, Fallen Dragon, and the recent Pandora's Star, so I had high hopes for this book as well. While this book isn't bad, it just doesn't live up to the standard set in Hamilton's other books.

First of all, this book is much more driven by the characters than the story or the setting, which is somewhat different than the other books I mentioned where Hamilton does a great job of creating a complicated believable setting for the stories to take place. This story is set much closer to the present, so he does not have as much leeway to mold the setting which is what he really seems to excel at. Despite this, however, I really thought that it would be interesting to see one of the technologies Hamilton uses so well to shape his stories in its infant stages instead of when it is already perfected and widespread. And that part of the story was pretty good. But the characters, while likeable and interesting, just weren't all that believable, which is more important in this story as it is driven mainly by the characters.

The first part of the story is spent painting Jeff as one kind of person, then throughout the story we see that he isn't that at all, but is something much different than we have been led to believe, and that also is pretty well done. The problem comes in towards the end of the story when we're again led to believe that he is the kind of person that we started with, despite the bulk of the story which assures us that he isn't. It just isn't very well done.

If you're a fan of Hamilton, this is probably worth reading, but just don't expect the same quality, or the same epic feel of some of his other work.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Missed opportunity but entertaining nonetheless September 4, 2005
Being a fan of Peter F. Hamilton I would have bought this book blind, but the theme of rejuvenation and its implications for morality caught my interest as well. However, I'm sorry to say this book does not live up to the high standard I've come to expect from Hamilton. Perhaps Hamilton elected to write a novel that can finally be produced as a single movie?

In Misspent Youth, one man is given the opportunity to undergo an experimental rejuvenation treatment, with the tab picked up by the EU. Jeff Baker is chosen because of his enormous contribution to innovation by inventing the memory chrystals that are essential to the successor of the Internet. His elderly mind is given the body of his former twentyfive-ish self, with the understanding that he will apply his considerable intellectual powers to helping figure out a room temperature superconductor.

It all sounds pretty scifi so far, but in reality the book is a family drama more than anything else. What's an old man in a young body to do? Party, Drinks and Nookie of course! Preferably with his son's friends. However, the way that Baker strays seems, well, a bit mundane. The real questions, like how to determine the age of someone rejuvenated (by memories or by appearance) are only touched upon, but not fleshed out.

The story quickly degenerates into a tale of love, lust and jealousy, with Jeff and his son Tim as the main antagonists. Of course by the end of the book everything is neatly wrapped up but it takes a lot of increasingly unrealistic sex scenes to get there.

That said, I did have a very good time reading the book. Hamilton has a knack for portraying girls and women we would all like to fall in love with (or be like). As a holiday novel, this should easily get you through a long tedious flight or a few days at the beach. Bring sunscreen!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Choose any other Hamilton title October 6, 2005
What utter crap.

After reading the Night's Dawn trilogy and Fallen Dragon, I eagerly snatched and bought this one. While the concept of rejuvenation hasn't been explored fully, and the way in which Hamilton deals with EU politics of the future is entertaining enough, the novel's degeneration into bad character development and description, lousy ending and all-too-predictable scenes made me wonder if it was the same author.

All in all, one star for the steamy scenes - just because you don't get much of those in mature SF - and one star for the well-developed world - because after all my ranting, it is still a good setting. But the book as a complete work is bad. Very bad.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Love his books...hate THIS book... April 9, 2011
I have absolutely loved Peter F. Hamilton's novels, but this book was unreadable. Is is one of the few books that I have ever stopped reading midway through. NOTE - as pre-reading for the Commonwealth series, you need not read this book. It is referred to in cursory fashion in the next five books but i gained very little insight into the Commonwealth world as a result of flogging myself with this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Disappointment December 5, 2010
I've enjoyed other books by Peter F. Hamilton, specifically the Reality Dysfuction series, and I'm sorry I wasted my time with this tripe.

This book was too heavy on the steamy sex and neglected the other important elements, namely character development and the plot. While the book is fairly well-written, it's basically a soap opera set in a mildly dystopian future. The entire time I read the book, I was hoping it would get better. It never did.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too much sex, not enough science fiction May 27, 2006
Luckily I read Pandora's star and Judas unchained before I read this, apparently the first book in the series, or I would have given up and missed the whole series, and the others are really great.

What a load of rubbish this book is. You keep hoping for something science-fiction like to happen, but it never does. They just keep having (explicit, R18) sex.

I like Peter F hamilton's other two books, but sorry, this oen is a dud!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A story of the first rejuvination and the relationship between father...
As a huge fan of the rest of the Commonwealth books this is a nice glimpse into the beginning of rejuvination and the unisphere. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Enthusiastic Student
1.0 out of 5 stars Misspent Paper
In the future, one man will have achieved immortality, "muscles straining as he pulled himself forward, grunting with the effort of penetration. Read more
Published 4 days ago by R. Bryan Harrison
1.0 out of 5 stars Not his best
Not anywhere as good as the confederation trilogy the good news is though that Pandora's Star which follows is excellent !
Published 12 days ago by Thomas Vantine Hart
4.0 out of 5 stars Review
I bought this for my husband. He loves Peter Hamilton and is always eager to get the next book in the series as soon as he can.
Published 5 months ago by Anne Martin
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book.
Excellent book. The not-too-distant future after a series of society altering events told in a compelling way through entirely normally flawed human characters. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Adam Bucknell
2.0 out of 5 stars Not my cup of tea
Misspent Youth is set a few decades in our future. The setting is an interesting one - the European Union is slowly taken over all of Europe, while in the US the religious... Read more
Published 9 months ago by BookWyrm
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a waste of time at all:)
I read the negative reviews, and while I recognize the points people have made about the book, I enjoyed it. No space opera here, but no regrets here.
Published 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read
I really like Peter Hamilton's work. I can't say this is my favorite of his books, but it's a good back story to some of his other books. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Scott Carpenter
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay
Okay book, however sometimes lengthly and the writing could be better. I love Peter F. Hamilton but I know he does better.
Published 18 months ago by Rainer Kurz
2.0 out of 5 stars Not my idea of a science fiction.
The story was a disappointment to me because I thought it was a science fiction story. The only science was it takes in the future and some complications with making a person... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Chuck
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More About the Author

Peter F. Hamilton was born in Rutland in 1960, and still lives near Rutland Water. His previous novels are the Greg Mandel series and the bestselling 'Night's Dawn' trilogy: The Reality Dysfunction , The Neutronium Alchemist and The Naked God. Also published by Macmillan (and Pan) is A Second Chance at Eden, a novella and six short stories, and The Confederation Handbook, a vital guide to the 'Night's Dawn' trilogy. His most recent novels were Fallen Dragon, Misspent Youth, Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained.

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