Evening's Empires Paperback – 10 Apr 2014
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"McAuley has created a vivid, hard-SF space opera filled with plausible technology... while this is the fourth book in the series, readers who begin the saga here will find an immersive, complex, and exciting story that will pique interest in the earlier novels." "Booklist""
ARTHUR C. CLARKE AWARD-winning author Paul McAuley concludes his thrilling epic of war between post-humans in the far future.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
We're back in the solar system once again, centuries after the Quiet War itself. The golden age that emerged after the Quiet War, and the rise of the "True" from the previous novel, are over, and civilisation is still recovering from the aftermath. The protagonist is on the run after his family's spaceship was hijacked, ending his life as he once new it. After returning to civilisation, he sets about finding those responsible.
From there, the plot is essentially a thriller-esque chase across the solar system. There's still the same sense of wonder and speculation on future society that we saw in the earlier Quiet War novels, although humanity's progress has stalled, and scientific progress has given way to mysticism and superstition, and the whole story takes a more pessimistic view than its predecessors. The characters are all believable and interesting, and I had a hard time putting it down. The plot does seem to overcomplicate itself a bit towards the end, but even so it's a strong finish to the series. There is also some interesting, and somewhat refreshing, speculation on the limits of what future progress might be. For instance, while this future does have posthumans, most of them end up becoming absorbed in ever more complex speculation on the meaning of existence, and most people are still ordinary people.
One minor quib I have is that there are still precious few details as to what happened after Gardens of the Sun. Apart from the occasional shout-out to the first two novels, this feels very much like a separate story in its own right. For instance, while there are a few visits to the territories of the Outers from the fist two novels, the Outers themselves seem to have vanished.
All in all, though, a solid addition to the Quiet War novels.
This is full of high drama and interesting locations and set pieces, yet I did feel a little detached from many of the characters. They walk in and out of the plot and introduce new problems or situations for Hari to escape from or solve, but they were not as fleshed out as they perhaps could have been. That said I really enjoyed the journey, following Hari's progress as he navigated his way through the minefield.
Clearly McAuley is a very skilled writer, and here he has constructed an interesting and original universe, so fans of this genre will not be left disappointed. This is not just a space opera, but also it's about families, companionship and the past's influence on the present. McAuley proves that you do not need epic space battles to make an exciting and gripping sci-fi story.
The Quiet War in tbe 23rd century decided that that the anarchic 'Outers' would lead the early phase of the colonisation of the Solar System, instead of the warring, powerful Families of Old Earth. The legendary gene wizard Avernus developed 'vacuum gardens' that could transform rocks in space into not just useful resources but also objects of beauty.
The Outers later fell under the rule of the True, who pursued a fanatical devotion to 'human perfection', and bred lesser humans as slaves. The fall of the True began with their attempt to make contact with an alien entity, reputedly living in Cthuga, Fomalhaut's gas giant. At this time occurred the 'Bright Moment', which everyone alive experienced, of a vision of a man riding a bike. While this 'event' was real, no one can explain it.
This is then not a clean and tidy vision of the future. It feels more like the medieval past, but is certainly not steam punk. Eccentricity thrives. Another important feature are the glorious descriptions of space scapes, a chaotic mix of old and new, plain and bizarre. Every time the action slows, the wonder of the environment takes over.
In contrast to the big events in the earlier novels, this one revolves around one person, Hari (a famous name in SF). Hari is alone on an asteroid. His family's ship has been hijacked. His family could all be dead. All he has is a semi-intelligent space suit and a deep desire for revenge. In his search for revenge he learns is that all is not as it appears. This is a masterful novel which takes the reader along with Hari as he tries to right wrongs.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A change of pace as we follow the path of a single character, but firmly set in the same universe and evoking the same sense of wonder as previous books in the series. Read morePublished on 18 Aug. 2014 by Subzer0
While not so compelling as previous books in the series, Evening's Empires is okay. It's a more personal story than the others, which I'm not certain works so well; writing about... Read morePublished on 24 April 2014 by PaddyAlton
There are only small links to the past books so this is worth a read as a stand alone.. ..Published on 12 Jan. 2014 by mark hunte
Writers can be really stupid at times. I read the Quiet War a while ago and enjoyed it. I spotted this one (No3) and so logically though I'd go to No 2 first - can't find it. Read morePublished on 26 Nov. 2013 by Larry Jeram-Croft
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