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Pandora's Star (The Commonwealth Saga) Mass Market Paperback – January 25, 2005

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Product Details

  • Series: The Commonwealth Saga
  • Mass Market Paperback: 992 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (January 25, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345479211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345479211
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 4.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (298 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,234 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hamilton's exhilarating new opus proves that "intelligent space opera" isn't an oxymoron. By the 24th century, the vast human Commonwealth has spread from Earth via artificial wormholes. Various benign or seemingly indifferent alien races have been encountered during exploration of new planets, but an astronomer sparks curiosity by announcing that a pair of stars is enclosed by a mysterious energy barrier. [...] The author deftly juggles many characters in multiple plot lines, sometimes slowing down the action briefly, at other times racing forward. Revelations late in the book will have readers scurrying back to earlier pages to reinterpret what they initially thought. Not many SF writers are capable of tackling such a big project so confidently. In this respect, Hamilton (Fallen Dragon) resembles a less cheery but very tech-savvy—and extremely paranoid—Charles Dickens. Given the abrupt cliffhanger of an ending, some may prefer to save this massive installment until the story's conclusion, Judas Unleashed, appears next year. Anyone who begins this one, however, probably won't be able to put it down.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Hamilton creates a dense, thoroughly defined twenty-fourth-century world, in which humanity has colonized the stars, thanks to the discovery of wormhole travel, and established a successful commonwealth. The species has even encountered aliens and space-faring artifacts. One remaining mystery is the barrier around stars known as the Dyson Pair. Human curiosity still being what it is, a spaceship capable of faster-than-light travel (thanks to those wormholes again) goes to investigate. When what's behind the barrier is discovered, the thrill-ride really starts. Aliens formerly trapped inside it, fighting over limited resources, are freed to invade human space. Unfortunately, that is more or less where this book leaves us, but a sequel is in the works. Hamilton's attention to character development makes the slow buildup to a dizzyingly destructive denouement rewarding, and all the little subplots and threads one hopes will be tied back to the main thread keep it complex and engaging. Hamilton is never simple, and even his aliens are well written, complex creations with their own motivations. Regina Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

141 of 158 people found the following review helpful By R. H OAKLEY on March 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Most readers know Peter Hamilton from his Night's Dawn trilogy, published in this country in six volumes. Pandora's Star is the first volume in another sprawling (and I do mean sprawling) series. The book begins with the discovery that two distant linked solar systems have been isolated by a force field. Because the observation is made visually, this means that the event occurred hundred of years ago. This event leads the Commonwealth, an organization of the human planets, to investigate. Whoever could put a force field around such a tremendous area would be very possible. And what is the motive? Is the force field meant to keep others out, or those living in the system in?
In a break from Hamilton's early books, as Pandora's Star opens, humanity does not use star ships for faster than light travel. Rather, wormholes are used to link distant worlds. Thus, one of the first things that must be done is to build a ship capable of faster than light travel. Other aspects of Hamilton's future are near-immortality, a terrorist group obsessed with the idea that an alien has taken over the government, and various alien races that seem indifferent to human population, and whose motives are not apparent.
Those who've read Hamilton's Night's Dawn trilogy will not be surprised at his practice of introducing many characters and separate plot lines that will (one hopes) converge eventually. Some of these plots are so separate from the main plot as to seem to exist only to establish background of the characters. Indeed, at time the books seems to consist of short stories set in the same future but having no other connection. For example, we follow a police inspector investigating a 40 year old murder case relates to the main plot in a tangential (at best) way.
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87 of 97 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Murphy on July 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Let me start off by saying I enjoyed this book a lot. I have only two quibbles, but they prevent me from giving it 5 stars. Quibbles first.

The narrative style gets in the way of both the story and the characters. Except in a few places, the action is told almost entirely via narration; we don't discover the characters, we are told about them. As a result only a few characters stand out. The narrator's filter occludes the rest. SImilarly, the action and the character's interactions are described by the narrator, rather than playing out by themselves. I know that some like this style, but I don't.

My other quibble is that the books stops halfway through the story, at a cliff-hanger. This is mitigated by it being an actual CLIFF-hanger, but I'm not fond of this wait-til-next-episode stuff. Next episode is March 2005, BTW.

Now, having griped, I must admit I enjoyed this book immensely. The rich portrayals of the 25th Century society, politics and economics all ring true. The implications of indefinite life, told in passing, are interesting, especially as they add to a body of other current work (e.g. MacLeod, Morgan). The natural refusal of all concerned to believe in (or adequately prepare for) the several dooms that are approaching, and the coming end of their Golden Age, are completely human and completely tragic. In many ways its an allegory for our own times.

If Amazon had a listing for the next book, I'd have ordered it already.
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43 of 53 people found the following review helpful By _ 1 _ on October 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Peter F. Hamilton has written a great story with Pandora's Star.
I don't want to argue a case for people to like this book, some
will love it while others won't. We all enjoy different types
of stories and authors - so let me give my opinion to those who
are contemplating reading this book.

READ IT & ENJOY! I was very happy to see another 'BIG' book
from Hamilton. I am also a fan of short story collections, but
sometimes it's nice to be engulfed by a deep story which can be
enjoyed over many weeks or months of reading : )

Parts of the book I enjoyed much:
Scenes where the characters are being chased or trying to
elude others (Hamilton wrote these parts well - I couldn't put
the book down!)

Detailed enviroments of 'other' worlds - At one point Hamilton
places some characters into freezing climates with limited
means to warm themselves, I could feel the cold!

The great dilemma when humans find an alien race trapped
inside a barrier! We wonder why they are trapped there,
Who constructed this barrier to keep them there & more
importantly why !?

Mankind must travel farther than ever from earth to study this
barrier and the aliens trapped inside it, all the while being
warned by a group of humans who claim to know that these aliens
WANT US TO COME AND RELEASE THEM and in doing so will spell
disaster for humanity!
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By S. Maire on March 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
Somewhere within the 1,000 pages of this book is a very good 600 page book struggling to emerge.

In Hamilton's desire to craft a comprehensive future world he launches into sub-plots, characters and details that fail to serve his story line. The result is a story that plods along relieved by only moments at a quicker pace.

When the pace picks up Pandora's Star is difficult to put down. Alas, these moments are far too few leaving one looking for the end of chapters in the hope that the next chapter will bring more energy.

Halfway through Pandora's Star I became aware that this was only the first half of the story. Only after reading some 2,000 pages of Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained is this saga brought to a close. Given the slog to get through Pandora's Star, Judas Unchained may have to await my being stranded on a desert island.
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