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Salvation (The Salvation Sequence) Hardcover – 6 Sep 2018
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Peter Hamilton knows how to build a world, and he's one of the best in the field at imagining complex societies, as displayed to magnificent effect in Salvation. Just as importantly, though, he knows how to populate his future environments with real-seeming people whose lives extend beyond the page. Salvation is a twisty and hugely satisfying SF thriller that opens a portal on a new and exciting series (Alastair Reynolds)
Explosions! Assassins! Enigmatic aliens, spaceships and jump doors. Conspiracies and ancient mysteries – it’s all here. Accept no substitutes, this is the real deal. You need Salvation, my friend. Everyone needs salvation (Ian McDonald)
Salvation is a space-opera intrigue with a cold shock of an ending that makes the sequel a matter of urgency (Ken MacLeod)
The classic Hamilton cocktail of techno-thriller, far-future vision and action adventure shaken to an intoxicating combination. A promising start to an ambitious new series. Science Fiction is in excellent hands (Justina Robson)
No one offers action-packed, meticulous, suspenseful and consistent hi-tech futures better than Peter Hamilton, and Salvation cranks all of that up five notches (David Brin)
Peter takes the word 'epic', then retools and turbocharges it. He is the go-to guy for spectacular science fiction (Michael Cobley)
The owner of the most powerful imagination in science fiction (Ken Follett)
A thoroughly enjoyable read (Neal Asher)
Hamilton handles massive ideas with enviable ease (Guardian)
Hugely impressive. We’ve said it before but let’s say it again: nobody does BIG SF quite like Hamilton (SFX on Peter's books)
Peter F. Hamilton’s dazzling space opera features alien first contact, threats to humanity, a future war and amazing technological advances – the author’s incredible imagination breaks new ground.See all Product description
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I read the first chapter of Salvation via my Kindle "sample" and though it was good, and then bought the book. The second chapter was totally boring and irrelevant, seemed like it was just there to make up a word count. Got to chapter 4 and we're about to embark on a historical narrative about how two people met. Stopped reading. Peter, if you're reading this - what on earth has happened to you? - Night Without Stars was too slow for me too. You've lost me as a fan, sorry. I hope you get what you used to have back.
Humankind has terraformed and colonised the planets around a number of the nearer stars (you still need a spacecraft to emplace that far gate). The Earth and most planets are dominated by the amoral-capitalist Connexion portal-monopoly ("one step away"), run as a benign despotism by its aged founder.
There is also a parallel civilization of planets and habitats run by the new communists, the Utopials with their gene-fixed gender-fluidity. Does this nod to contemporary identity-politics add any value? It's not clear.
And there are aliens. The religious ones in their arkship, making stopover in the solar system to top up their antimatter tanks while bestowing alien biotech in payment. They're on a trip to eternity to meet their final God. But are they as altruistic and well-meaning as they appear?
Then there are the other ones, who've inserted four humanoid agents into Earth's society. Why? In terms of the novel's characters who are they? Good or bad?
The central dynamic of the novel is the discovery of an unknown alien spacecraft which has crash landed on a newly discovered planet. The discovery team soon determine that the spacecraft contains unknown humans in hibernation pods. Were they abducted? Who are they? What does this mean?
A collection of top people from the various factions who really rule the human universe are sent in a luxurious land-cruiser to investigate, under top quarantine security. This is to prevent any alien incursion into the human datasphere. The journey takes several days which affords an opportunity - in the style of the Canterbury Tales - for each character to recount their back history.
What follows is a series of engaging short stories, techno-thrillers with plenty of mercenaries, espionage, terrorism, kidnappings and high-tech in the trade-mark Hamilton style. When they reach the spacecraft the plot twist kicks in, setting up the next volume.
There is a parallel storyline set hundreds of years in the further future. A group of adolescents is being trained as genetically-enhanced warriors to combat aliens which remorselessly hunt humans throughout the galaxy. Something bad has already happened in these people's past and they only dimly remember the characters we spend so much time with as 'Saints'. I agreed with those reviewers who assess this thread as the weakest part of the novel, lacking colour and intrinsic interest, with bland characters who do not really engage your interest.
After a slow start where one is continually trying to remember weird names devoid of context, the book picks up through the back stories, each of which is quite exciting. I'll certainly be looking at volume 2 when it arrives.
Other thoughts. There is plenty of homage to other works of science fiction. The future troops' training is straight out of Ender's Game; their warships have names like Morgan and McAuley; the house with rooms in different worlds is like the Hyperion Cantos.
I'm appreciative of Hamilton's political skepticism. He doesn't like ideologies, seeing them as weapons against actually-existing humanity. His Utopials, exemplifying politically-correct liberalism, are creepily self-righteous and rather repulsive. Is there a broader message here, some zeitgeist-concern which Hamilton is seeking to address?
In an interview with SyFyWire, Hamilton said, "To some degree it's about the level of trust and mistrust that's developing in the the political arena, with everyone suspicious of anyone who isn't on their side. I managed to blend that paranoia with a whodunnit as five people from different factions embark on a trip together ."