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Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton

Great North Road (edition 2013)

by Peter F. Hamilton

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Title:Great North Road
Authors:Peter F. Hamilton
Info:Del Rey (2013), Hardcover, 976 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:science fiction

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Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton

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Over the years, I’ve read an enormous amount of science fiction. I’ve read all of the classics, as well as a goodly number of the more recent works. Having read just about everything he has written, I can safely say that Peter Hamilton is now my favorite science fiction writer.

My first exposure to Hamilton was his magnum opus, Night’s Dawn trilogy. Initially, I was absolutely blown away. About midway through this 3,500 page door stop, I began to lose interest, primarily because the novelty of many of Hamilton’s brilliant alien and technological constructs simply became second nature. I followed up with Pandora’s Star and Judas Unchained, another 2,000 page monster. Much like Night’s Dawn, it simply carried on too long. The Void trilogy, actually a sequel to Judas Unchained, was another 2,000+ pages, but actually kept my attention throughout.

I recently read Fallen Dragon and was very pleased with the shorter, one volume work (only in Hamilton’s world could a 800+ page novel be deemed short). I had high hopes for this novel of comparable length, but was mildly disappointed. The Great North Road contains many of the same technologies and constructs as the Void Trilogy and perhaps this lack of originality contributed to my disappointment, but I was also not taken with the story itself and some of plot twists were a little too contrived and quite frankly ridiculous. In my opinion, there were too many story threads with only the slightest of relevance to the main action, and even the attempt to tie them together near the end didn’t work for me.

Finally, a pet peeve: The silly insistence of many science fiction authors to invent a new expletive which every character must blurt out thousands of times, over and over. In this novel, that word is “crap” (as in “Crap on it!”, “I’ll be crapped on!”, et cetera, ad nauseum) and all its possible permutations. Personally, I’m betting that the “F” word maintains its supremacy far into the future. I certainly don’t see it being dethroned by the word “crap”. ( )
  santhony | Jan 3, 2014 |
First, this isn't my genre. I like space operas; but I am not a die hard science fiction fan. I'm definitely not a fan of epic SF sagas. Having said that, I couldn't stop reading. Every time I picked the book up, I had to force myself to close it so I could sleep or eat or oh, celebrate Christmas with the family. The technology, the police procedure, the politics...it all makes for a very good book. ( )
  lesmel | Dec 29, 2013 |
Hamilton returns to the combination of genres (science fiction and mystery) in an excellent novel which creates a universe so detailed I am convinced he will return to it. ( )
  nmele | Jun 24, 2013 |
Police drama, mystery, military action, aliens, and expansive world building, all packed together in a 900+ page science fiction epic. Peter F. Hamilton just can't do small! And I'm all the happier for it.

This is a must read book if you are a fan of science fiction and Peter F. Hamilton proves again why he is among the top ranked current sci-fi writers. As usual, Hamilton goes to great lengths to build a unique world/universe and populate it with aliens very different from the typical sci-fi genre space dwellers. This is a very difficult task, because in reality any aliens we are likely to meet in the real world would have developed along completely independent evolutionary lines and are not going to be like us at all. And to create this in science fiction, to develop something that doesn't even think like humans, is a very hard task indeed. Mr. Hamilton does it better than most, at least for what can be expected from a human brain.

I also found the near future police detective work to be absolutely fascinating. It was a real exploration of what it might be like to investigate a crime in a world filled with fancy surveillance equipment and tools, many of which were things that are just now making an appearance in our real world, for example, smart dust. It also explored the possible ways to counter such surveillance as the bad guys sure didn't make it easy for our detectives. And over-all, it was neat to see how this was then worked into the larger story and the military expedition to find an alien who may was implicated in the crime the detectives were investigating.

The are several characters to follow in this one and the back-story of many of them is intertwined throughout the book. There was at least one character that I felt was not really necessary to the story, but it didn't hurt anything to include; just seemed a little useless, like it was a character who was underdeveloped, started but never really finished being fleshed out. I'll leave it to you to figure out which one.

The ending: it was expansive enough to allow Mr. Hamilton to return to this universe again is he chooses to do so, but final enough that this book can stand on it's own without any further follow-up.

I strongly recommend this one and felt it was well worth the time invested; I'm still feeling the after shock of finishing a book where you can't stop feeling like your still in that world. ( )
2 vote speljamr | Jun 7, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Peter F. Hamiltonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stone, SteveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This one's for Lizzie, Tim, Judith, and Alan. For all the quiet support down the years.
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As midnight approached, the wild neon colours of the borealis storm came shimmering through the soft snow falling gently across Newcastle upon Tyne.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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New York Times bestselling author Peter F. Hamilton’s riveting new thriller combines the nail-biting suspense of a serial-killer investigation with clear-eyed scientific and social extrapolation to create a future that seems not merely plausible but inevitable.

A century from now, thanks to a technology allowing instantaneous travel across light-years, humanity has solved its energy shortages, cleaned up the environment, and created far-flung colony worlds. The keys to this empire belong to the powerful North family—composed of successive generations of clones. Yet these clones are not identical. For one thing, genetic errors have crept in with each generation. For another, the original three clone “brothers” have gone their separate ways, and the branches of the family are now friendly rivals more than allies.

Or maybe not so friendly. At least that’s what the murder of a North clone in the English city of Newcastle suggests to Detective Sidney Hurst. Sid is a solid investigator who’d like nothing better than to hand off this hot potato of a case. The way he figures it, whether he solves the crime or not, he’ll make enough enemies to ruin his career.

Yet Sid’s case is about to take an unexpected turn: because the circumstances of the murder bear an uncanny resemblance to a killing that took place years ago on the planet St. Libra, where a North clone and his entire household were slaughtered in cold blood. The convicted slayer, Angela Tramelo, has always claimed her innocence. And now it seems she may have been right. Because only the St. Libra killer could have committed the Newcastle crime.

Problem is, Angela also claims that the murderer was an alien monster.

Now Sid must navigate through a Byzantine minefield of competing interests within the police department and the world’s political and economic elite . . . all the while hunting down a brutal killer poised to strike again. And on St. Libra, Angela, newly released from prison, joins a mission to hunt down the elusive alien, only to learn that the line between hunter and hunted is a thin one.
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Futuristic speculation combines with murder when a scientific expedition on a faraway planet searches for an alien species only to be stalked by a determined killer who may be a hostile alien or a member of their own team.

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