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Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton
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Great North Road (edition 2013)

by Peter F. Hamilton

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5193319,506 (4.01)39
Member:RandyStafford
Title:Great North Road
Authors:Peter F. Hamilton
Info:Del Rey (2013), Hardcover, 976 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:science fiction

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Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton

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Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton begins as a murder mystery set in the future and soon becomes much more. It is 2143 and a member of the very wealthy and very cloned North family turns up dead in the river at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in northeast England. Police detective Sidney Hurst is on the case with a crew of help from the police as well as other very powerful people. It is apparent that the murder may be related to another murder in the North family from twenty years ago on the planet St. Libra. The only witness/survivor/convicted murderer from that mass murder was Angela Tramelo, who has been in prison since then. Angela always claimed that she was innocent - and that an alien monster was responsible for the horrific crime. Now it seems that she may have been telling the truth and the real murderer is an alien monster that is still on the loose, but now in Newcastle. Angela is released in order to join a mission to hunt down the monster.

That synopsis doesn't quite do Great North Road justice, but this is one huge space opera combined with an intense murder mystery and alien-contact thriller. All the plots and sub-plots are neatly tied together in the end. The world building itself is exemplary, with plentiful details and descriptions. The main characters are very nicely developed both in personality and backgrounds. Once you get caught up in the story you might begin to forget exactly how long it is (especially if you are reading it on an e-reader. I began to wonder early on what was up when it seemed my Kindle was on 20% forever... then I looked up the actually length of the novel.

At nearly 1000 pages, there are places where Great North Road could have been edited; perhaps some of the details of the investigation could have been tightened up. It becomes apparent that, thankfully due to the length, that there were sections of the novel that I could read quickly in order to get back to some more exciting action. Since it is so long, you might have to throw out the 50 page rule if the opening murder investigation doesn't capture your attention. Try to read quickly along and get to when Angela is introduced. That's when the story really takes off. Not to say that I didn't enjoy the rest of it, but I can see where a reader might begin to wonder where the investigation is going. Don't worry - it goes places. If you enjoy murder mysteries and science fiction then you likely will not have a problem getting absorbed into the details of the narrative


Very Highly Recommended - but know that it will require a time investment

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Random House and Netgalley for review purposes.
http://shetreadssoftly.blogspot.com/

( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
Welcome to Newcastle in 2143. Even if the setting is the same as some of the earlier Hamilton novels, this is yet another new possible future, unrelated to any previous world.

One family, the Norths, had managed to build their own empire via cloning and interstellar exploration. But as with all big ventures like that, through the years the descendants of the 3 initially cloned brothers had grown apart and the Norths are split into fractions. All descendants are named starting with the first name of their forefather (A, B and C) so knowing which branch they belong to is easy. Unless if they lie - because all of them look the same. Not because next generations are cloned but because the cloning process left the DNA stuck at its form - it keeps all the next generations the same but it also stops the DNA from recovering the broken pieces and mutations keep showing. Which makes the later generation less and less intelligent - to the point where after a few generation, the family makes sure there are no more children being born.

But this is not the story - it is just the backdrop. The story starts in one January day when one of the Norths is found dead. The detective, Sidney Hurst, that is sent to investigate is just returning from a suspension - and he still gets the case. And despite his expectations, he is left to lead the case. Being a North, it should be easy to identify who he is. Except that there are no missing Norths - in any of the lines. And the cause of death is unusual. So unusual that it had happened only once before - when Bartram North (one of the original clones) and pretty much everyone staying in his house was killed. Except that it should not be possible - the killer, Angela Tramelo, is in prison. And for the last 20 years, she kept insisting she is innocent.

And the chase is on - while the investigation is going on, Hamilton shows us the world - with the planet of St Libra that does not have any native sentient life and all the bio-oil that allowed the world economy to evolve and the other human colonies; with the society that had evolved and changed but had remained human. The novel that starts as a mystery turns into a thriller when everyone ends up on St Libra, chasing the elusive killer. And everything you think you know changes again and again. Until the end where things finally make sense and you reevaluate everything that happened through the prism of what really happened. Just as in real life, noone is all good or all bad - regardless if how it may be looking at some times. Maybe a bit too balanced in places.

It is a wonderful novel - with characters that show the maturity that 20 years bring - but also the vulnerabilities that are part of humanity. But it is a Hamilton novel - for most of it the threads of the story look different and unrelated - they start connection and becoming a whole late in the novel. If you do not have the patience for it, Hamilton is just not your author. And it is also an unusual novel - it is closer to the Mandel's novel than to the later space opera series. But it is a more mature novel, with more world details and more grown up and defined characters.

I would love to read another novel in this world - too bad that we probably will not see one. Highly recommended if you like long novels, mysteries and science fiction (and maybe a bit of horror). ( )
1 vote AnnieMod | Mar 1, 2016 |
Entertaining, but too long. I did not like how he ended the novel. But it was a fun read, mostly. Interesting how he portrays the idyl uber rich. Not big on characterization. Uses flashbacks to tell much of the story and each characters history. ( )
  keithostertag | Jan 26, 2016 |
I really wanted to like this book. Summaries of its plot sounded intriguing. And I had hopes that in the years since I last read one of Hamilton's giant novels he'd learned how to make his characters a little more believable, how to trim extraneous prose, how to avoid pages of self-indulgent and mind-numbing exposition.

Unfortunately, he has not, particularly in the first 400 pages or so of GNR. I nearly abandoned it several times; I should have. Although the pace picks up in the second 500 pages of the story, Hamilton's ability to make his characters really live doesn't. It's ironic that a large fraction of the main characters are clones of each other -- who many of the other characters frequently remark are so easily mistaken for each other, have such similar personalities. I felt that way about the book's entire slate of characters.

It's a shame. As with Hamilton's earlier giant novels and series of giant novels, there are some good ideas -- good, though not necessarily great -- buried within the 1000-page bloat, a skeleton of an interesting sf murder mystery story. But, wow, you have to be as patient and forgiving as a saint to find it. I guess I proved I am, for all that did me, and wish I hadn't been.

Last gripe, and I can't imagine I am the only one to feel this way: his weird characterization of northern English / Georgie accent and speech patters is really tiresome, particularly the exclamation "crap on it," which, if we are to believe Hamilton, residents of Newcastle utter whenever they are surprised, annoyed, angry, or anxious. Whether that's true or not, Hamilton's ham-handed over-use of the expression made much of the dialogue nearly laughable.

( )
  ronhenry | Nov 17, 2015 |
An excellent stand-alone sci-fi/mystery novel. The title plays out in many ways in this novel - its the name of a road, the name of a family, the critical direction of much of the action. In this not too far future novel, humanity has discovered the secret of opening gates to other solar systems and has started to colonize the galaxy in a limited fashion. Some of this settlement is lead by the North's - a family of identical individuals all descending from 3 clones. Among other things, the Norths control a planet where most of the bio-oil is produced (for some reason the Earth still relies on oil), but this planet has a strange biology of its own. Years ago a group of Norths were murdered and now the body of a dead North family member turns up in Newcastle, England, evidently murdered by the same weapon. A murder mystery and search for a murderous alien presence dominates the rest of the plot of the novel.
While this is eseentially a murder mystery, there are enough plots and sub-plots and sub-characters to make this a fascinatingly complex novel. It is huge for a murder mystery at 926 pages, but it was well worth it. Hamilton has woven a complex sci-fi story together with a good mystery. ( )
  Karlstar | Aug 16, 2015 |
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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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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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