The Peter F. Hamilton series continues with another retro review, this time from October 22, 2010.
Review: The Temporal Void, Peter F. Hamilton, 2008.
Well, if you’ve invested the time to read the 600+ pages of The Dreaming Void – not to mention the earlier almost 2,000 pages of Pandora’s Star and Judas Unchained – you’ll want to continue with this book.
Hamilton resurrects – sometimes quite literally – characters and races out of those latter two novels.
It’s been noted (specifically by Luke Burrage of Science Fiction Book Review Podcast) that the Void series is all about power. The worthy purposes of power, the tactics of its use, and the effects of power on its wielders are the themes here. That ranges from the human factions which seek to steer humanity (in various flavors from the barely altered to the nearly post-human Advancers) in a particular direction to the ever increasing psychic powers of Edeard in his world of medieval technology. An election is even a major plot event in the alien city of Makkathran.
In fact, Edeard is the central character here, his adventures take up not only a larger portion of this book than the first Void novel, but they have an inherent interest and suspense, are no longer, as they sometimes were in the first novel, a story interruption. At novel’s end, Edeard faces not only a major challenge to his power but to his moral code. And story’s end provides a better understanding of the book’s rather enigmatic title.
Of course, Hamilton also covers the world outside the Void. Agents of various factions clash with powers seemingly as magical as anything Edeard has. Araminta continues to resist capture and exploitation by the forces of the Living Dream religion. Paula Myo confirms psychopathic Cat has been resurrected. Advancers manipulate – for unknown reasons – the Commonwealth into revealing their ultimate weapon.
Obviously not a starting point for the Commonwealth Saga, but a worthy continuation. At times, though, I must admit I found the legalistic nature of the ANA a bit inconsistent. The same held true with the relative sophistication of some Advancer weaponry in relation to their foes. But those are very small nits to pick in a story that weirdly melds high space opera and medieval fantasy in an intriguing way. It’s a worthy bridge to a satisfying end I’m confident Hamilton will provide in The Evolutionary Void.