Top positive review
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Back on form
on 13 October 2013
After last year's rather disappointing installment to the Quiet War universe, this novel is something of a return to the excellent series of before.
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.