Friday, December 15, 2006

Judas Unchained - by Peter F. Hamilton

Judas Unchained is the conclusion to the Commonwealth Saga tale that started with Pandora's Star. It's a tale of first contact with an alien species that goes badly wrong and results in mankind fighting to save itself from extinction. Here's a brief summary of Pandora's Star for anyone interested in reading both books…
It's AD 2380, and humanity has colonised over six hundred planets, all interlinked by wormholes. This Intersolar Commonwealth has grown into a quiet, wealthy society, where rejuvenation and re-life techniques allow mankind to live for centuries.

When an astronomer observes a pair of stars over a thousand light years away vanish, the Commonwealth is anxious to discover what actually happened. However, wormholes can't reach that far so they have to build the first faster-than-light starship,
the Second Chance, and when it gets there they discover that both entire systems have been sealed inside impervious force fields.

Like Pandora before them, they learn that curiosity can be very dangerous and whoever sealed these systems away from the rest of the universe had a very good reason for doing so. But there's also someone or something that wants them to open that box

With the cat literally out of the bag and the Dyson Alpha aliens loose and bent on the total annihilation of mankind, the story continues with Judas Unchained…
After 300 hundred years of behind-the-scenes manipulations, the Starflyer, whose very existence had been long dismissed by the authorities as the ravings of niche terrorist group, has succeeded in engineering a war that could result in the destruction of the Commonwealth.

While the invasion from MorningLightMountain and its vast alien army continues to wreak havoc among the outer worlds, the leaders finally acknowledge that they must fight a battle on two fronts and unite to meet the threat of both the Starflyer and Dyson Alpha aliens.

However, the Starflyer's agent network is deeply insinuated within the Commonwealth at all levels and preventing it from getting back to Far Away and freedom while also trying to hold off and defeat the Dyson Alpha aliens will not be an easy task.

The Commonwealth Saga is grand science fiction at its best with a well crafted and detailed plot, well-developed characters and plausible technology. The alien species are also very well realized - the enigmatic Silfen, Tochee, the Raiel and of course, MorningLightMountain and its horde of motiles. If anything, Judas Unchained is even better then Pandora's Star as the pace picks up and the plot threads come together for a pretty nail-biting finish.

You'll find everything that makes a great story here. From the rich and powerful ruling dynasties trying to outmaneuver each other in the political arena, the Guardians of Selfhood trying to make the Commonwealth believe in the Starflyer, the police investigators trying to bring the Guardians of Selfhood to justice as terrorists for an atrocity they unintentionally committed years ago, the sexy journalist trying to get the scoop of a lifetime, wormhole technology inventor Ozzie Isaacs on walkabout, the completely alien MorningLightMountain trying to logically remove what it sees as a threat to its own existence and the Starflyer manipulating things in the background to suit its own ends.

If you liked Hamilton's Night's Dawn Trilogy, then you'll like this series as well. Highly recommended!

Genre: Drama, Science Fiction, War
ISBN: 0330493531
My Rating: 9/10

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I quite enjoyed this book which i read during a long hot summer in Poland last year. I didnt think it was quite as good as the Nights Dawn Trilogy though