The thread of Hamilton’s latest doorstopper space opera picks up a thousand years after the events of Judas Unchained (2006).
The Void, an almost impenetrable black hole-like region of the galaxy, is slowly expanding; many view it as a threat, including the ancient alien Raiel, who lost an entire battle fleet in an abortive attack. Somehow, however, a single human spaceship managed to enter and found a colony on planet Querencia. Inigo, the Dreamer, established a mental link with the colonists, and received a series of dreams involving the evolution of humble farm boy Edeard into the Waterwalker, an individual with astonishing telepathic and telekinetic powers. When Inigo vanished, his millions of followers founded the Living Dream cult, whose ambition is to penetrate the Void and land on Querencia. Problem is, many of the galaxy’s great powers fear that this Pilgrimage will trigger an explosive expansion of the Void and swallow up the galaxy. Earth is now run by the ANA, a cyberspace composed of billions of uploaded minds, whose numerous factions keep close tabs on the situation by dispatching agents such as the Delivery Man to investigate and report. Others, like the memory-less, cyborg-powered warrior Aaron, are searching for Inigo. The belligerent alien Ocisen threaten to destroy the human Commonwealth if Living Dream moves against the Void. Also complicating matters is the presence of Paula Myo, who saved the Commonwealth from the Starflyer threat, as well as that of a sadistic psychopath known as the Cat. Somewhere, too, there’s a Second Dreamer.
Dozens of scenarios, a surprisingly well-delineated cast of thousands, plotting enough to delight the most Machiavellian of readers and, this time out, a far leaner and more purposeful product: a real spellbinder from a master storyteller.