6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Patience will be rewarded, 31 Oct 2009
This book has a somewhat slow and confusing start, but stick with it and it becomes more enjoyable as it goes along, and has a very satisfying climax.
Set in the distant future, humanity has colonized many worlds. Earth is the centre of the Pax Solaris, struggling to keep hold of the colonies that are rebelling against its rule. The human race is extremely long lived, with immortality itself granted to certain licensed people. The result of this near-immortality has a strong effect on the story.
The focus is on Terese, a woman who is brought out of retirement by the Guardians, an organization dedicated to preserving peace throughout the galaxy - a mission made difficult by their vow to never take a life, not even to save their own. Terese is sent to the Erasmus System, to discover the fate of a murdered comrade and prevent a possible interstellar war.
I was a bit confused at the beginning and through the opening acts. I had a hard time understanding the motivations of some of the characters, as it was a but difficult comprehending the way of thinking of this future society, and their future morality. Crucial details about this society are parcelled out only as they become immediately relevant, rather than earlier when it may have been more useful in understanding why certain things were happening. Because of this, many of the characters seem to be acting completely irrationally, and its only afterwards that I realised what was motivating them.
However, as the story went along and I became accustomed to the workings of the world, I was engrossed and the story became highly enjoyable. The plot twists were intricate and well thought out, and the tension remained high. The Guardians' pacifism, the immortality treatments and its effect on society, and the boiler-pressure situation of an enslaved world threatening to explode into war, made for tense and exciting reading.
Terese herself began the story as a fairly unlikeable protagonist, and I was concerned that I would go through the entire story despising her. But the whole story is background for her own journey of self-discovery and salvation. She became stronger and more real as the story developed, and by the end I was privately cheering for her. A very satisfying conclusion for both the heroine and the story itself.
In summary - a story with a confusing start that takes some personal mental adjustment, but stick with it and you will enjoy it.