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Empire of Light Hardcover – 2 Jul 2010
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`Gripping, imaginative and morally complex... This is page-turning SF with a distinctive identity and brutal, stylish action sequences, all of which adds up to a compulsive read... A sharp, distinctive piece of sci-fi, an Gibson has certainly proved himself a name to watch out for.' --Four stars, SFX magazine
One man has the skills to rally their cause. If he can stay alive for long enough. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
Initially, the multiple narrative strands left hanging in the previous instalment are continued, but slowly these are completed and the main part of the book turns into a quest and, to some extent, a murder mystery. In fact, this section took so long, I was beginning to despair as the end of the book approached and no conclusion seemed in sight. But Gibson deftly stitched up most of the loose threads into a generally satisfying end.
Most of the characters who survived the previous book are here - besides the central figures of Dakota Merrick and Lucas Corso, we meet 'Trader' again and, all too briefly, the wonderfully horrible Hugh Moss. The murderous 'Emissaries' are here but happily not in person, along with the Atn, the Magi ships and the Maker. So, all in all, a thoroughly rumbustious Space Opera on a galaxy-wide grand scale (as the finest Space Operas should be); a hint of Götterdämmerung, the occasional near-apocalypse, generally fast-paced narrative, weird and wonderful aliens, twisting and turning (but consistent) plots and sub-plots, bizarrely advanced technology - all in all a cracking good read. Thank-you Mr Gibson. :-)
Only a small moan, don't let it put you off. When the plot led to an impossible cul de sac the villain or hero would somehow gain a sometimes implausible new gift or relevant info. This never being covered in the proceeding pages.
Never the less a cracking read, which leaves one waiting more from the author.
Very little of the story makes sense. There's a weapon that can destroy FTL drives. Our heroes find it rather easily, even though the god-like Makers have been searching for it for millennia. And the weapon destroys 80% of the Emissaries' Fleet. Instantaneously. And rather wonderfully Trader provides Dakota with weapons and shields from a vanished civilisation that are much better than anything the Magi ships have and which mean she can invade Emissary space to launch the weapon. Oh, and the Emissaries can track Dakota through some technology that nobody thought to tell anybody about before. Planted by Hugh for reasons that are never given. And Trader has been on an expedition to the Greater Magellenic Cloud and found out how to work the weapon. But he didn't tell anybody. Deus ex machina indeed.
At the end, we still don't really understand the Makers or why they are leaving caches all over the place, we don't meet the Emissaries at all (except in battle) and so get no further with what they are about and there are hinted at links between the Makers and the Atn that never go anywhere. And the Magi? and the makers of the weapon? Who knows?
For good measure, there's some sort of nonsense about the weapon only working for the just or the not so bad or something that is never explained. And Lucas becomes really good at fighting and Dakota dies twice. But she's alive at the end again. Or something.
I don't really know what wrong here. Having set up great situation, Gibson seems to have completely run out of ideas as to how he's going to resolve it. Instead he pretty much rewrites the back story so as to provide solutions to all the problems he has created - oh, didn't I tell you that I have the control programme/brilliant weapons/tracking devices/location of Excalibur? He descends into sub-fantasy with his magic weapon that is only for the virtuous and chickens out of having his main characters die.
A real shame, as Nova War set up the conclusion so well. Two stars because if you have read the others, you have to read this one, otherwise on a stand-alone basis 0 or 1.