Alastair Reynolds – Elysium Fire

It was almost eleven years ago that I wrapped up my review of The Prefect by saying that I hoped we’d see more of its protagonist Tom Dreyfus. Well, that hope has now been fulfilled with a sequel.

So, we’re back in the Glitter Band, the huge belt of habitats orbiting the planet Yellowstone, home to something like one hundred million people living in a variety of societies united under a real-time democracy. Regulation is light, except in the matter of voting, which is strictly regulated by Panoply, the body appointed by the citizens to take all necessary actions, including seriously deadly force when necessary, to maintain the democratic system.

But not all is well. all over the Glitter Band, people are dying – seemingly random, blameless citizens are being killed by the brain implants everyone except  Panoply agents depend upon to interface with their society. And following the events in the previous book, there’s a growing separatist movement, which has led a small number of habitats to secede from the overall society.

As you might expect, there’s a lot of confusion, Deadly Peril and dramatic action as Tom and his colleagues are slowly drawn to the source of the trouble. This is Al Reynolds doing what he does best, with a definite feel of working to give the readers what they want.

Interestingly, The Prefect has been reissued with the new title Aurora Rising, which matches the title of the new book, and is perhaps a hint that there’s more to come. I’d be happy with that.

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