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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb sci-fi
If "Game of Thrones" can be turned into a TV series then I think Peter Hamilton's latest novel should be turned into a show too. The Great Road North is an excellent story: imaginative, clever, and well paced; it blends sci-fi with crime, horror, doomed romance, and a bit of political/action thriller. I had been looking forward to this book since reading the plot summary...
Published on 6 Oct 2012 by Me

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad but not great
I have never written a review before so i apologise now but I hope it helps, beware there may be a spoiler .I had high hopes for this book but it didn't quite live up to my expectations, yes it was skilfully written but I felt I was reading two different books, as others have said in their reviews the Newcastle police investigation plot line got somewhat boring and I live...
Published 7 months ago by christopher smith


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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb sci-fi, 6 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Great North Road (Hardcover)
If "Game of Thrones" can be turned into a TV series then I think Peter Hamilton's latest novel should be turned into a show too. The Great Road North is an excellent story: imaginative, clever, and well paced; it blends sci-fi with crime, horror, doomed romance, and a bit of political/action thriller. I had been looking forward to this book since reading the plot summary several months ago and I was not disappointed. To me, a long-time fan, it seemed like he had gone through all his previous novels, cherry picked the best elements and weaved them all together.

Talking of weaving, one of the most enjoyable and challenging things about Hamilton is tying his story threads back together using the limited (but very deliberate) clues he writes in before the plot is revealed. I got a fair few, but some of them eluded me until about page 930... It's always fun trying to guess, but I don't think I'll ever be able to call him predictable.

Another thing I really enjoyed was the way he wrote against a believable background, speculating on where modern science and technology might take us and describing how people will live in the near future; think Michio Kaku but with verve, humour, and a lot of very British style. Of course with sci-fi it has to go a little bit further and we have seemingly implacable aliens, spaceships and strange planets. However, unlike the Void trilogy, it doesn't stray into fantasy; believability makes this story more accessible.

Of course Hamilton already has a great reputation for his story-telling skills, but I think that with Great North Road he has improved his writing style. Recent novels have had a large cast of characters, which often led to uneven coverage. In this novel he has concentrated on the key characters and they all come across strongly: Angela the tough girl with a mysterious background; Vance the zealous Human Defence Agency colonel; and Sid the cunning detective. The secondary characters like Ian, Saul and Rebka are also much more fleshed out than their counterparts in his other novels.

Some readers might find the length off-putting here, but if as an author you're going to conjure up an epic story then you might as write it out in full. Which takes me back to my first point: it's about time some of our best writers got their stories on screen, not just to dispel the myth that British sci-fi is all about histrionic blokes in police boxes and supermarionation puppets, but also to show that it can compete with the best of the stuff beaming across the Atlantic. It would be great if TV producers took notice of novels like this.

However, having praised it so thoroughly, there was one small problem with this book:- I don't see how he can top it. ;)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad but not great, 13 April 2014
This review is from: Great North Road (Kindle Edition)
I have never written a review before so i apologise now but I hope it helps, beware there may be a spoiler .I had high hopes for this book but it didn't quite live up to my expectations, yes it was skilfully written but I felt I was reading two different books, as others have said in their reviews the Newcastle police investigation plot line got somewhat boring and I live in the Newcastle area, this at least kept my interest as I know of the places and names described, the use of the term "pet" is common place, as is the word "aye" for yes, in my humble opinion this part of the book could of been a lot shorter and would not of effected the quality of the overall story telling, the Angela part of this book is a different kettle of fish altogether, this is venturing in to the kind of space opera Peter.f Hamilton exceeds at but again there is not enough of it, the sub-plot aliens in the book the zanth are intriguing but are never really touched upon, the main alien in the story appears to be some highly developed Freddy Kruger eco-worrior and if I'm honest, I got bored with it half way through the book but in fairness it did rekindle my interest near the end of the book, this is a who done it sci-do that's a little slow..all in all a decent read but be prepared to slog through the dull to find the good
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A slow start, 3 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Great North Road (Paperback)
I really liked the sound of this book, the story caught my attention. The first 200 pages are hard work and I nearly gave up, essentially it feels like the author takes a while to get into his stride. Also the naming of every vehicle and technology is pretty tedious and not necessary. All that being said the book delivers a very reasonable read. The story flows and the plot is good. I wish the editor had been more brutal in the beginning, would have made this a much better book. It's not a classic and doesn't deliver as much as Alastair Reynolds does, but it is probably worth the space on your bookshelf.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 12 Oct 2012
By 
reader 451 - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Great North Road (Hardcover)
For a novel that combines thriller and science-fiction tale in one, read Hamilton's The Great North Road. Blending a detective story based in Newcastle and a wild alien chase across the twenty-second century planetary colony of St Libra, it is an anxiety-packed page-turner. I found this novel more compact and coherent, indeed, than the absorbing but sometimes sprawling Void trilogy. Even at 1,000+ pages, this doorstopper does not waste a line. At the same time, it (almost) achieves the imaginative range that makes earlier Hamilton books such good reading.

Space colonisation has begun: not by spaceship, but through teleportation gateways. St Libra is one of the new worlds, mined for a bio-fuel it would cost too much to produce on Earth. And atop the highly lucrative trade sits Northumbrian Interstellar and the North family, a multi-generation crowd of over two hundred clones. But a North has been murdered in the streets of Newcastle. The circumstances, moreover, recall a mass-killing that occurred twenty years before on St Libra, and in which the main suspect, Angela Tramelo, blamed an unlikely humanoid alien. Angela is promptly freed, but this is only to pack her off on a massive scientific and military mission to comb the vast and unforgiving St Libra jungle for the predator. Meanwhile, humanity is, on its new worlds, under assault from the un-definable Zanth, stellar-scale swarms that are neither animal nor mineral, nor perhaps even composed of ordinary matter, yet sweep whole worlds before them. On the Great North Road, both the old road to Newcastle, where detective Sidney Hurst is leading his investigation, and on the St Libra jungle path taken by Angela Tramelo, come to hang the fate of many more as the novel builds towards its multi-stranded, and utterly unexpected, denouement.

This novel is well written and should confirm Hamilton as a major science-fiction writer. What I like about Hamilton's novels, moreover, is that they offer a progressive vision of technology, a sober but in many ways positive peek at the future. In a sense, they are a return to the heroic era of science fiction, and they stand far from the gloomy dystopias that have become fashionable today. Biological enhancements have become available to humans. They can interface mentally with computer networks. Manufacturing has been made easy. At the same time politics remain as fraught as they ever are, and economic relations. And, wink, wink, Newcastle is situated in the state of Grande Europe and uses eurofrancs for currency. I am sometimes weary of buying the latest book from a popular author before having seen any reviews. But The Great North Road should appeal both to fans and to Hamilton newcomers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Would have been twice as good at half the length, 16 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Great North Road (Paperback)
This is a fairly classic hunt-the-monster story with some nice variations. As usual Hamilton's writing quality is excellent, however it suffers from considerable bloat (do we really need the back story of a host of minor bit-parts) and would have been much better at 500 rather than 1000 pages. The ending is a bit too neat - if the "villain" had been as rational in the earlier part of the book as they become at the end then much of the storyline would never have happened. Overall a reasonable time filler but with no potential for re-reading.
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1.0 out of 5 stars The Alien dunnit! very poor, 5 Mar 2013
This review is from: Great North Road (Hardcover)
Some years ago I tried to read Hamilton's Reality Dysfunction, I couldn't get into it and put it aside after 200 pages or so.

Didn't really look at his stuff after that but saw TGNR on kindle for 4 pence so decided to give it a whirl. At that price it didn't really matter if it was a turgid as RD.

This book is more than 1,000 pages of aliens v clones v Geordies so the plot scores highly for originality. He does plagiarise himself though with ideas like -let's drive to Sirius (via a hyper spatial tube). I've started to read his Pandoras Star which includes - lets get the train to Alpha Centauri (via a hyper spatial tube). Rejuvenation also features strongly in both books.

Also unimaginative. One of the big technical "advances" is 3d printing. Don't we have this in now?

There are two main threads to the tale a murder hunt in Newcastle and an off world hunt for an alien monster. Of the two the detective narrative is better. The alien hunt drags somewhat.

Long ago the late great Isaac Asimov wrote that you could write detective stories set in the future provided the author played fair with the audience. I don't think Hamilton's plot device of a hideous Alien which can at any time appear to be indistinguishable from a human would fail with the definition of fair.

I would have given this 2 stars except for the ludicrously saccharine sweet afterword.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Cr@p on it. This goes on a bit, 2 Feb 2013
By 
E. Clarke "eamonnclarke" (cambridge UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Great North Road (Kindle Edition)
This could have been a great mix of a futuristic police procedural and alien bug hunt, but it is rather over long. The lengthy technical descriptions of clothes and equipment, the constant repetition of the phrase "crap on it",and the rather tedious dragging out of the perils of the expeditionary force detract from what is otherwise a very good SF novel. Whenever I pick up a book this long I always wonder what the editor was doing. In this case he or she may have been on holiday?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Space Opera doesn't get any better - you really need to read this!, 23 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Great North Road (Kindle Edition)
If this book were a cinema release then there would be scene after scene where you, the viewer, would be pumping your fist in the air shouting, "Yes, yes, yes!" And then, as the end-credits roll, you'll share in the ultimately satisfying and emotional conclusion, with tears streaking your face. The hairs on the back of my neck tingled and I shed a tear of joy at the epic finale of this brilliant book.
Peter F Hamilton has prepared us Space Opera fans magnificent feast with a host of wonderful ingredients to savour:
* Ghost in the Shell Hi-Tech bristling Detectives - and a serial killer
* Multiple, interweaving story threads, a la Tom Clancy
* Conspiracy and political drama as Frank Herbert's Dune or Asimov's Foundation series
* Sc-Fi Horror to match Predator, Aliens or The Thing
* Special Forces and military action to match McNab, Ryan and Stargate SG-1
* Space Travel and inhospitable alien worlds - with edge of youyr seat 'conceptualbreakthrough' i.e., You, as the characters, think they have a grasp opn reality and 'their' universe, only to experience the 'next' level of revelation, which firmly dumps you on your 'backside' in realising your small place in the cosmos...but ravenous to see, hear, smell some more...thank you Peter Hamilton
* Deep, rich and colourful characters, each with a history (and many secrets waiting to be discovered) - drip fed to us with faultless pacing. Able to hold its own against the fantastic story-arc of the 5-series Babylon 5
After reading the Great North Road, I have become a Peter Hamilton fan. Will I read more of his work? Absolutely, Yes! You have to wonder at the multiverse of characters and creativity that surely resides in Peter F Hamilton's mind.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Epic SF, 5 Jan 2014
This review is from: Great North Road (Hardcover)
This is a monumental book in lots of ways, not just its length (1087 pages) or its size (slightly larger than a house brick), but also in the story that he writes here.

It starts with a murder, and the body that is fished out of the river is a North, a family of genetic clones, and this corpse has had all the identity markers removed. There are five puncture marks on the chest, and the heart has been shredded. The last people to die this way did so 20 years ago, on the colony of St Libra, and the woman who was tried for the murders is still in prison. So begins the most sensitive, and politically charged investigation of Sidney Hurst's career.

With the new murder, the HDA decide that they need to go back to St Libra and fully investigate the claim by Angela that the murders were committed by an alien. She is pulled from prison and sent through the gateway, essentially a wormhole, with a crack team of legionnaires and back to St Libra to find this entity.

And so starts this epic story. It flips between Newcastle, and St Libra and you follow the ebb and flow of the characters in their successes and failures. The people on St Libra start to conclude that the plant they are on is a bioformed planet, and the alien is there as a guardian. St Libra`s sun suddenly red shifts, sending the planet into a mini ice age, and the alien starts to eliminate the legionnaires in the group. Meanwhile back on earth the investigation into the murder has become a lot more complex and charged, and it starts to look like the fall out between two corporations, and the police are playing catch up.

Apart from the fact that this is enormous, and took even me a while to read, I really enjoyed it. He has created a pair of believable worlds, alien contact and a murder mystery thrown in for good measure. It doesn't get five stars as there are parts that I felt were superfluous to the main story, and probably could have been removed.

Hamilton manages to keep the tech believable, there are e-i systems that people have fitted within their body and are permanently connected to the net. There are lots of smart dust and meshes that the police use to track and monitor citizens. The society is well constructed too, apart from petty crime, most of the serious crime is committed by corporations that have a legitimate side, and a nefarious side.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heinlein meets Iain M Banks, 2 Oct 2012
By 
Mr. Timothy S. Parkin (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Great North Road (Hardcover)
Well paced even though very long. A wonderful adventure combining a gritty geordie detective story with a armed forces exploration mission. If only more books ticked the boxes so well.
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Great North Road
Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton (Paperback - 11 April 2013)
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