This tremendous series continues with the third book in the Rama series. At the end of Rama II three astronauts we left trapped in a huge cylindrical spacecraft heading off towards one of our closest stars.
The first fifth of the novel is presented in the form of Nicole des Jardine's diary and is probably the highlight. It tells of their 12 year journey to "The Node" - a giant space station built by the creators of Rama. There are no warp-drive shortcuts here, Clarke and Lee brilliantly tell the story of how the astronauts start a family, not knowing how long their journey will last and their efforts (often painful) to create genetic diversity amongst their offspring.
As the returned and refitted Rama craft returns to pick up more human specimens, the book takes a breather for about 100 pages, delving you into the lives of many new characters through deep and often uninteresting characterisation. The completed colony accelerates off into space again, but 'New Eden' is not without it's problems as the des Jardine descendents and cross sections of global society struggle to integrate.
With an excellent plot, but pondering middle section "The Garden of Rama" succeeds overall, but you're left wondering about the sudden change in the colony with Nakamura takes power. We're back to full form in the last 100 pages with Wakefield investigating the other species on the ship while other events unfold in the human habitat. This is where the story picks up again but is rushed. The conclusion is pretty moving and makes you instantly want to pick up the final book "Rama Revealed."