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Great North Road Hardcover – January 1, 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 552 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Hamilton's stand-alone near-future mystery is a mesmerizing page-turner whose pace never lags despite the book's substantial length. In 2143, Newcastle police detective Sidney Hurst realizes that a naked corpse dragged from the river was a member of the North family. Clones Augustine, Bartram, and Constantine North founded a company that invested in trans-spatial connection, a technology that opened gateways to other star systems and expanded humanity's access to energy and living space. They cloned themselves in turn, by the hundreds. The wounds on the dead North, whose exact identity is vexingly hard to pin down, match those on Bartram's body after he and his household were slaughtered in 2121—and Angela Tramelo, convicted of those murders, always claimed that an alien monster was the real culprit. The intense whodunit plot and the sustained ambiguity about Tramelo's innocence or guilt are enhanced by plausible extrapolations of 22nd-century human cultures. Agent: James MacDonald Lockhart, Antony Harwood Ltd. (Jan.)

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Hamilton, the increasingly popular British science-fiction writer, tends to write long, but he also writes well. Someone else might have told this story in half the space, but it probably wouldn’t have been nearly as good. The story is simple enough: in the year 2143, a man is murdered, and Sidney Hurst, the detective assigned to the case, must wade through the evidence to find the culprit. Well, wade isn’t exactly the word, because the evidence is pretty sparse. Physical traces of the murderer are virtually nonexistent, the scene of the crime is unknown (the body was dumped), and even the victim’s identity is a mystery. Hurst knows the dead man is a North, a member of an extended family of clones, but nobody seems to be able to figure out which of the many hundreds of Norths he might be. Oh, and there’s also the tantalizing possibility that the unknown killer might be the same creature that slaughtered another North and 13 other people two decades ago. And that’s just the setup of this epic-size SF mystery (which morphs, the deeper you go into the story, into something else entirely). The author’s rapidly growing legion of fans will flock to this new title, and readers unfamiliar with Hamilton’s brand of SF should be steered in its direction. It’s a perfect introduction to his gifts for character design, dialogue, and sheer, big-idea-driven storytelling. --David Pitt

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 976 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (January 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034552666X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345526663
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 2.4 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (552 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #337,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jay VINE VOICE on March 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Few authors can carry a near 1,000 page novel and keep the reader's interest throughout. In Hamilton's latest offering he gives us two story lines to follow that ultimately converge. Several other reviewers indicated that they did not care for the "investigation" track of the story. Being a police officer myself, and having moved up the ranks, I found it fascinating and very much on target. Hamilton manages to convey the desire and will of the detectives, the reality and hurdles of politics to the investigation and the realistic personalities of the investigators and bureaucrats - not an easy task!! On top of that, he shows how they meld work with the rest of their lives. Without giving away plot or spoilers, I can say that this story involves other worlds, aliens, advanced technology and a world view that continues to intrigue long after one finishes the story. Even better, this book brings the whole story to conclusion in a way that leaves the reader fulfilled. Questions are answered and the conflicts are laid to rest. This story was all I could ask for. I highly recommend this book!!

All the best,

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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For some reason this was delivered to my Kindle account a week before the release date. Mind you, I'm not complaining! I am a huge Peter F Hamilton fan and have been since reading the Reality Dysfunction. I love sprawling high-tech space opera.

This book gets off to a slow start, as if the author went in thinking "I do fat books, I have loyal fans, I can afford to take my time with some stodgy police procedural material" but it builds up from there and by the end I was losing sleep, reading to uncover all of the plot twists and find out whodunnit. Some of the twists I feel were telegraphed well ahead of time and I'm not usually the most astute when it comes to guessing plot outcomes. From about two thirds in the Author drip feeds revelations and there was at least one point where I thought "Gah! Not another flashback!"

It doesn't give anything away to say that Hamilton has created a human future not unlike the Commonwealth books, the planets are linked by portals for example and some of the military parts reminded me of Fallen Dragon. A critic might say that he assembled a book from all of the ideas left over from previous writings.

There were plot holes, not that I'll spoil them, just that it seemed like some of the problems that the protagonists faced could have been overcome with the technology that they had available to them. In some places the biological explanations for things seemed off, eg there is a family of clones who, when they breed with a normal person, produce another clone of themselves because their genes are 'dominant'.

Rereading the above, I sound a little harsh for a book I really enjoyed! I did love most of the characters and Hamilton wrote the action and dialogue well. Maybe if he'd trimmed it down a little or made it a pair of books it would have been a 5.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you love Hamilton's novels, you will love this one too. I found that this is a good story, but not a great one. I was greatly entertained by the author's previous commonwealth trilogy, which started with Pandora's Star. He created a vivid imaginary universe, populated it with colorful, believable characters, and told some amazing stories. He tries to repeat that feat with this book, and it is almost as good as his earlier writing.

In the first 150 pages, the pace is leisurely. It would fail the cabdriver's test. With 800 pages to go, and a solid fan base, the author evidently felt no need to jump right into the action. I wanted to abandon the book because it was dull. Then the questions about a mystery planet St. Libra began to multiply, in an interesting sequence. Each piece fits into the whole, and there is an entire universe in this book. It takes time to describe it.

The characters are well imagined, but you don't get into their minds like you would with a psychological thriller. They remain distant to the reader in some ways. There are so many of them that you need a roster to keep track, and Hamilton has provided just that in the first few pages: a roster and a time line of important events leading up to the story: a short history of the universe from 2003 to 2120.

Hamilton fans can get into this story, losing themselves for a week or more while they read it. It took me so long to finish that I fell out of the top 1000 reviewers (amazon's algorithm demands constant reviews). I kept hoping that the story would pick up, and I would become fully involved. After 300 pages, I could have put this aside for something more interesting, or more educational. This is the fourth novel I have read by this author. He is very imaginative, but I think I have reached my limit.
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Format: Hardcover
So Many publishers force authors to split big books into 3 parts to increase profits. Here you have an epic, a saga, in one long, enjoyable book. There is no year-long wait for the next installment; no trying to remember the story, no "housekeeping" (as John Sandford calls it) repetition to bring new readers up to speed.

This is a SciFi epic with big ideas. This is a police procedural as we follow the (sometimes plodding) steps to uncover a strange murder. This is a soap opera about a dispossessed spoiled rich girl and her life journey. This is a survival story in a harsh environment, wherein a "10-little-indian" drama plays out. You need a big, long book to pack in all the plots.

There is family life described in this book, and not a bleak one of whiny children and unloving spouses. Folks are, for the most part, pretty decent. I weary of people oppressed in life and love. Optimism is what I want at the core of things.

And Hamilton really forgets nothing. That knock-out potion used 400 pages ago? Aha, now we know what our heroine was doing instead of seducing a soldier. The reason for The Big Scam that ended up sending someone to prison for 20 years? We find out what the money was for so much later, but we do find out, and it was worth the wait. How and why was a main character genetically modified? What does it mean? --- all will be revealed. If there were any loose ends or mistakes in this complex interplay of plots, I could not find it.

Often I am irritated when an author withholds information, but Hamilton does it the right way, letting his universe-building proceed in an unforced and entertaining way.

Another pleasure is the windup. No abrupt ending here. Instead, a stately and satisfying explanation of "what happened then".

Still a little too long, but a pleasure.
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