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Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton

Great North Road (edition 2013)

by Peter F. Hamilton

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5063120,102 (4.01)36
Title:Great North Road
Authors:Peter F. Hamilton
Info:Del Rey (2013), Hardcover, 976 pages
Collections:Stirling Library Borrowed
Tags:Sci-Fi, Alien Contact, Newcastle, Future Crime, Future Police

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Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton



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Showing 1-5 of 30 (next | show all)
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 |
Great North Road is a sweeping science fiction novel set in the near distant future-- a world remarkably like and unlike our own. It masterfully dances between being a police procedural, a lost patrol, a mystery, a romance, and a hard sci-fi tale. As the novel opens a murder of one of the North family (almost all a series of clones due to their father Kane North’s military injury) launches a police investigation in Newcastle. Similarities tie back to the murder of Bartram North on the planet Saint Libra twenty years prior and soon the government, military, and multiple planets are pulled into investigations both of the murder and of St Libra’s uncharted northern continent. Questions remain about the lush world where the first massacre occurred, and while some of the evidence points to corporate espionage for the current murder, the idea of intelligent life on St. Libra and an alien attack soon gains momentum among various government agencies. Angela Tramelo, convicted of the first murder, joins the exploration group to try to locate the creature she saw kill the household around her. Augustine North in Newcastle is desperately searching for answers as the 2North who died in his city cannot be identified. No Norths are missing. On his Jupiter facility Constantine North begins to launch his own investigation into the mysteries, something he has been preparing for since his brother Bartram’s murder, for he has long been certain of Angela’s innocence and of the likelihood of intelligent life on St. Libra.
The main storylines (Sid Hurst’s police arc, Vance Elson’s exploration group with Angela, Saul’s village community in Abellia, and the various A, B, and C Norths) are fascinating and slowly fit together into an incredible picture. The universe is beautifully and thoughtfully constructed, and Hamilton thrusts readers into it trusting them to be smart enough to follow along, slowly learning bits and pieces about the people connected to the investigations now and the massacre twenty years ago as they search for answers and as politicians search for truths that fit their respective paradigms. The Norths are fascinating, both Augustine’s corporate family, Brinkelle’s (Bartram’s daughter’s) medical experts, and Constantine’s technological geniuses who have chosen a life without money focused on knowledge and exploration.
Brilliant, exciting, fast paced (even as groups slog through the grueling investigation), and beautifully constructed, Great North Road is a fascinating read. The plot lines are carefully interwoven and the mysteries remain as elusive for the readers as they are for (some of?) the characters. Everything is well thought out, however, and as the story closes things begin to come together for the reader as they do for the characters. ( )
  Ailinel | May 1, 2015 |
Huge book about a murder mystery with clones, mixed in with interstellar colonization in the near-mid term future. Very interesting ideas and well written with lots of flashback to explain the past. ( )
  Guide2 | Jan 21, 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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
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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