This is not one book, or rather it is one book but one that is made up of three separate books connected by a single strand. If you've not been confused by that sentance then you are perfectly capable of understanding this book. The three stories centre on a different group of people whose discoveries/ actions are all connected to one major event. This is the sort of thing that has been done many times before in movies/ books/ TV shows et al. and as usual there are some problems. Occasionally we find ourselves torn away from the characters before we can emote with them. This drive-thru syndrome effects the third book especially as we don't really feel part of what's happening. The third book, while working in the context of the novel, isn't the stongest branch on the tree. I wished he could have gone back to the characters of the first book and developed them more thoroughly - but then that might be because I thought his early ccharacters were very well realised and allowed you to connect with the story to the point where you wanted to know more. Asimov has taken a different route and it does work, it just 'lacks' something. If I have made the third book sound unappealing, let me assure you the first two are works of a gifted autor - the second showing a mind brimming with imagination and talent that provides a glorious environment and characters. I have always prided myself on being able to guess twists. I didn't guess Asimov's here. And it is not one of those twists where you think the author has just thrown in a twist at random to cheat you, this one works and makes you reconsider much of what comes before. This is an excellent book, only slightly let down by a poorer third instalment. A must for any serious reader of fiction this surpasses much of Asimov's more famous work. A wrongly neglected classic that deserves a wider audience.
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