Peter F Hamilton – Great North Road

Peter F Hamilton, as I’ve mentioned before, tends to write rather long books, and usually puts them in groups of two or three. His latest is another big one[1], but it’s a one off, complete story rather than the start of a series.

Much of the story takes place in Newcastle in 2143, which obviously appealed to me. By this time, the city seems to have spread to take over Gateshead, which doesn’t seem too unlikely. There’s a lot of nice local detail – streets I know well are still there, many of the buildings are the same, but much has changed. For a start there’s a honking big interstellar gateway in the Team Valley, now known as Last Mile, for reasons the story soon explains.

In the usual Hamilton manner, there are numerous threads to the story, lots of flashbacks which gradually reveal the truth. A good chunk of the story is a 22nd century[2] police procedural – a member of the powerful North “family”[3] has been found dead in the Tyne near the Millennium Bridge. He was killed by a strange five-bladed weapon that shredded his heart in an identical manner to a mass murder which occurred on the planet at the other end of the gateway twenty years earlier.

Another thread is the military expedition into remote areas of the planet in search of the impossible alien killer. On that expedition are several people with secrets, and soon people start dying…

It’s a big, complex, and ultimately satisfying story, set in a future that could be the basis for further novels. Good stuff, well worth reading, provided you have the time for a 1000 page monster.

[1] The hardback is about the size and weight of a large brick. Have I mentioned that I love my Kindle?
[2] Though the text of the Kindle edition several times suggests it’s the 23rd century, which is the kind of error that editing should have picked up
[3] A load of clones, actually

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