Like `House of Suns', this book is not set in the immersive universe of the Revelation series. With the initial claustrophobic ship based chapters, Reynolds has recaptured some of the ground left vacant since the 70's by Pohl and Clarke with the hard science fiction simply providing a backdrop for the interpersonal politics arising from a normal crew being plunged into exceptional circumstances. The story gradually expands to encompass the exploration & colonisation of Janus (very reminiscent of Clarke's Rama) and the impact of its arrival at `the structure', but the relationship between the crew members is always the primary element.
As with all of the other Reynolds I've read, the story rocks along at a cracking pace and its linear narrative makes for a far easier read than the Revelation stories but, as such, it does seem to lack a certain depth. However, the basic premise is highly original, the visualisation is superb, the storyline is gripping and there are plenty of unexpected twists. There can be no doubting the craftsmanship of the novel but I did find some of Svetlana's actions disproportionate and extreme and this, for me, slightly spoilt the plausibility of the tale. These comments notwithstanding, I still really enjoyed this book, not least for its classic sci-fi atmosphere and Reynolds' trademark taut and engrossing storytelling.
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