Hamilton’s latest (a relatively slender 704 pages) brings to a furious boil the two-book saga (The Abyss Beyond Dreams, 2014) describing human colony planet Bienvenido’s unremitting battle against the hostile alien Fallers.
Set in Hamilton’s far-future Commonwealth, fans and newbies alike can jump pretty much right into any book in the series (which come complete with an always-helpful timeline). Bienvenido, hurled into intergalactic space and millions of light-years from contact with the Commonwealth, suffers a constant rain of Faller eggs which absorb people and produce perfect Faller copies, all programmed to commit genocide on humanity. (This existential threat scenario does require the aliens to be utterly single-minded. Imagine all the inhabitants of Connecticut totally intent on invading Massachusetts and nobody wants to stop for ice cream.) As a result, Bienvenido’s government is heavily militarized and fearful of its own minority population, known as Elite, who’ve retained the superior brains and enhancements of their Commonwealth forebears. A few individuals like the Warrior Angel survive independently and possess advanced Commonwealth technology. Then astronaut Ry Evine—his mission is to explode the orbiting “trees” that are the source of Faller eggs—unwittingly frees a trapped Commonwealth vessel that crash-lands on Bienvenido carrying, of all things, a baby. Reclusive Elite forest warden Florian stumbles upon the capsule and the baby and takes responsibility for the child—who feeds and grows at an astonishing rate and soon exhibits highly advanced knowledge and abilities. Security officer Chaing, secretly an Elite, believes the Faller threat to be far greater than the government will admit and wants to contact the Warrior Angel for help; instead, while fearing betrayal at the hands of Jenifa, his fanatical assistant, he’s charged with capturing the child. All this roars relentlessly along in utterly mesmerizing style, with edge-of-the-seat plotting, thrilling action, and knife-edge tension that will leave readers gasping.
An atomic blast of a yarn. Hamilton in peak form and absolutely not to be missed.