Peter F Hamilton – Night Without Stars

This is the conclusion to The Chronicle of the Fallers, which began with 2014’s The Abyss Beyond Dreams. It picks up the action long after the events of the previous book[1]. Thanks to Nigel Sheldon’s actions, the planet Bienvenido has been cast out of the Void into a distant location, where it accompanies some other planets which also made themselves unwelcome.

In a flashback, we learn that one of these planets was occupied by a bunch of the delightful Primes we encountered in the original Commonwealth series, mumble years in the past. These were disposed of at considerable cost, and time has moved on.

The main problem is still the Fallers (the invasion of the body snatchers type aliens), who are absolutely not about to unleash an apocalypse and take over the planet, oh no, they can’t be because the government says so.

The democratic (*cough*) government is running a space programme with the sole purpose of destroying the orbiting trees (now much closer to the planet following previous events). On one of those missions, the astronaut sees a strange object, and that’s what leads to the story…

The object turns out to be a Commonwealth pod, which had been stuck to a tree for a long time. Now freed, it lands, and a young man encounters it, and is given charge of a very unusual baby, who is definitely more than she seems…

Much of the usual multi-viewpoint fun and games follow, with the added bonus of finding deeply opposed characters equally sympathetic. Well, maybe not the Fallers. They’re not very nice at all.

The baby grows up remarkably quickly, and turns out to be a clone of a familiar character. This is just as well, as probably nobody else could have sorted things out quite so well.

Just when everything seems to be hopeless, as the definitely not happening Faller Apocalypse begins, help is found, and everything is sorted out quite nicely. Though in lots of unexpected ways.

Big book. Big fun, as always.

[1] Though there may be some wibbly-wobbly timey-wimeyness here and there