This story is constructed in three quite distinct but interwoven parts.
The first, which is an SF plot in the classic style, has a space ship captain pulled out of a dead end job and given a mission to pilot a ship to an uncharted part of the galaxy. His passenger is a rich eccentric with a strange reason for the journey. This then develops into an entertaining space-romp.
The second part, is a more down to earth scenario and sees a female cop on the trail of a serial killer. If the first part was classic space-romp, this is classic pulp detective stuff. However, while the first thread was an entertaining read, this section is pretty lifeless being devoid of suspense and it seems, ultimately existing more to tie off loose ends in the rest of the book than to add anything of its own.
The final part is the ending which attempts to draw everything together, answer all of the outstanding questions and provide a conclusion in about one fifth of the pages that are needed to do so. The result is that the conclusion of the book is unconvincing and unsatisfying.
Eric Brown is a master of the SF short story but the problem here is that, towards the end, he has forgotten that he is writing a novel and switched back into the wrong mode of writing.
I also got the feeling that, before writing this book, the author had just read the first part of Peter Hamiltons "Night's Dawn" trilogy and though "I could do that." This is of course reinforced by the title of the book which used a word which is a) liberally scatteed through Hamilton's monster trilogy and b) uncommon in English fiction.
With a more carefully constructed ending and a strengthened detective thread, this could have been a much better book. It is a shame that nobody in the publishing house pointed that out to the author.
I give this book three stars because, despite the flaws, it does contain some great writing.
on 9 April 2011
It's difficult to review fiction without giving the plot away but, suffice to say, this is an engrossing story from Eric Brown. As usual, the main characters are very well described and you feel a strong affinity with them by the end of the book. The story itself revolves around the exploration of a remote planet many light years away, although there's plenty of action back on Earth as well.
For fans of the genre, I would say the closest current author, in terms of style and subject, would be Jack McDevitt although I personally much prefer Eric Brown's novels.
The only reason I'm not giving 5 stars is because I get the feeling this author has an even better novel just around the corner!
on 30 June 1999
Interesting style, as you look at Eric Brown's universe through the characters, you do get a very different feel about each situation. At times the writing does not flow together. His use of technology was quite good, but at times his imagination seemed a bit hemed in - so not very thought provoking. The story moves quite quickly, but don't hold your breath for the ending. However worth a read.