Oooh! Didn't you just want to bang old Lind and Barseghian's heads together????
What a pair of idiots eh!
And here lies the focal point of a lot of the criticism levelled at this book. Poor, weak characterisation of the main protagonists - and I agree, both do come across as a bit moronic and definitely not leader material.
Ritually I always read Amazon reviews after I've finished a book, never before, (I highly recommend this practice) and judging by a lot of the reviews here, these two 'weak' characters seem to have really got up the noses of a lot of readers.... but help is at hand, come and visit where I work and I can point out a dozen useless, limp, argumentative, not fit for purpose, petty people all in various positions of power. So it can happen, why should all leaders be correct decision making, mighty, strong armed heroes?
I liked this book for this exact reason, I loved the fact that I found myself uttering under my breath 'you idiots!' and 'why on earth are you acting like that?' and my personal favourite, which I murmured rather a lot 'you stupid dunderheads!'
Yes this may not be Reynolds best, but I found myself swept along with the grand ideas that the novel presents, it gave glimpses of vast intelligences and left me with an overarching feeling of insignificance.
I was disappointed to finish the book with so many questions unanswered, but my imagination is doing its best to plug the gaps - and that, in my opinion, is the sign of a good novel.