Peter F Hamilton – The Abyss Beyond Dreams

Peter F Hamilton is back with another wrist-straining[1] novel. This is first in a two part series he’s calling Chronicle of the Fallers, and it ties in with both the Commonwealth Saga and the Void Trilogy. Previously, a  fleet of starships heading out to start a new culture well away from the Commonwealth, find themselves in a strange environment that they realise is the Void – a strange and growing thingy at the centre of the galaxy, where their technology begins to fail, and from which there is no escape. They run into some seriously nasty alien wossnames with a clever line in absorbing and replacing people (in an Invasion of the Bodysnatchers only worse kind of way…). Enough of them survive to land on at least one planet, and found a society, which develops as best it can with limited technology and frequent attacks from the alien wossnames, which arrive as eggs falling from a structure known as the Forest. Which is why they’re called Fallers…

Back in the Commonwealth, Nigel Sheldon (co-inventor of the wormhole technology and effective founder of the Commonwealth) thinks he can do something about the Void (which it is believed will one day expand to consume the whole galaxy), and with help from the Raiel sends a clone of himself in to find out more. He’s worked out that the city that was the heart of the world we saw in the Void trilogy was actually the remains of a Raiel ship,lost in the ovid long before.

So he arrives, and learns that contrary to expectation, there is more than one human-inhabited planet in the Void, and the one he’s found doesn’t have a Raeil ship..

Much fun follows, with the usual multiple viewpoints, movement backward and forward in time, characters not knowing what’s going on, and much more.

Nigel believes he can bring the Void to an end, and return the people inside to the Commonwealth. His plan to achieve this leads to a lot of change, and not all of it was what he was expecting.

Clever stuff, wide open for the next volume…

[1] I’m sure it made my Kindle slightly heavier