Halo: Silentium (Forerunner Saga) Hardcover – 19 Mar 2013
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The third book in Halo's Forerunner trilogy --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From the Back Cover
In the last years of the Forerunner empire, chaos rules. The Flood - a horrifying shape-changing parasite - has arrived in force, aided by unexpected allies. Internal strife within the ecumene has desperately weakened Forerunner defences.
Too little, too late, the legal rate of Juridicals is only now investigating possible crimes by the Master Builder and others. Evidence-gathering agents, known collectively as Catalog, have been dispatched to collect testimony from the Librarian and both Didacts: the Ur-Didact, treacherously abandoned in a Flood-infested system, and the Bornstellar Didact, who accompanies the Librarian as she preserves specimens against the dire possibility of Halo extermination.
Facing the imminent collapse of their civilization, the Librarian and Ur-Didact reveal what they know about the relationship between the long-vanished Precursors and the Flood. The Precursors created many technological species, including humanity and the Forerunners. But the roots of the Flood may be found in an act of enormous barbarity, carried out beyond our galaxy ten million years before.
Because of that barbarism, a greater evil looms. Only the Ur-Didact and the Librarian - husband and wife pushed into desperate conflict - hold the keys to a solution. Facing the consequences of a mythic tragedy, one of them must now commit the greatest atrocity of all time - to prevent an insane evil from dominating the entire universe.
[Xbox 360 and 343 Industries logos]
[Microsoft copyright lines]
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Prior to this, Cryptum was my favourite novel in the series because of how well written and detailed the Halo universe was 100,000 years ago. Over the past 3 years, the Forerunner Saga has gradually introduced these characters I came to love and care about, and Silentium closes many of those arcs in a fashion which left me emotionally devastated (in a good way).
Let it be said that this novel is a mix of two things - a cosmic horror story interweaved with a mythical tragedy. Greg finally delves into the role and history of the Precursors, and I have to say that they are among the most utterly terrifying beings in my repertoire of fiction. This is full-on Lovecraftian-esque sci-fi horror, not something that has been watered down for the masses. My jaw was on the floor for a good portion of the book where certain revalations come to light which takes what you THOUGHT you knew and twists it in ways you'll never see coming.
It makes me very sad to see the end of Greg's involvement with the Halo series, I think he's the best thing to happen to it in many years. I'll close by saying that Silentium closes the doors on a number of questions we've had since the first game in emotionally satisfying ways, but sets the stage for double our previous questions and makes the future of humanity in the Reclaimer Trilogy look to be very bleak indeed.
If you're a Halo fan, you're interested in the story and want to see just how much depth Halo 4's story has - buy this book.
Also does an excellent job of showing how desperate the Forerunners were, showing why the flood were their undoing and why they realised lighting the Array was their last option. During Primordium, I lost all sympathy for them, but by the end of this book, I was secretly hoping there would be another way (although that was obviously impossible).
Some stuff was expected, but there were still some shocking plot twists towards the end.
Worth hitting up youtube and looking for "Halo 4 Silentium Rebirth Narrative" for an additional 40 minutes worth of narrative by Greg Bear which goes in to a little detail about the Lifeworkers reseeding Erde Tyrene (and it ties up Risers story).
The first book was decent. The second book was pretty dull for the most part. This book was awesome, almost all the way through, and genuinely made the series worth reading. Hooray. You basically finally get what you wanted from the beginning - perspectives from some of the most important Forerunners of the time, loads of info on the Forerunners, Flood, Precursors, ancient Humans and more which I can't really say without spoiling it. I just wish it had been this good from the start.
All in all, a great conclusion to a good series.
However, this isn't exactly a bad thing, especially when you consider what a power house of a franchise Halo is. 343 and Greg Bear have obviously worked very closely together to not only provide an absolutely amazing read, but also provide a novel which ties up so many lose ends in the Halo cannon, many threads of which have been lingering since Halo: CE's release in 2001. This must have been an absolutely monumental task and Greg Bear pulls it off with such ease and finesse that I was actually quite taken back when all the pieces started to fall into place. With this novel, the Halo series is ready to move onto the next major plot point without any massive plot holes for the first time in nearly 12 years. That is an achievement in itself, and speaks volumes about the passion Greg Bear and 343 obviously have for this series. Of course, there are still a few minor questions that remain, but we must not forget that there are 2 more games planned (which tie directly into the relationship between the Forerunner Trilogy and Halo 4) and another novel (covering the events between Halo 3 and 4) to iron out any minor issues.
In conclusion, this is a book that only Halo fans will get anything out of, but my god are you in for a treat if you are a fan!
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