Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Dan Simmons
Bantam Spectra, 1995 (my copy is from 1996)
Size: Average (my copy has 563 pages)
Theme: Futuristic space opera
Narrative: Switches between first-person (for Raul) and third-person
Main character: Raul Endymion
Recommended minimum age: Young adult
Would purchase as a gift to any sci-fi reader: YES

Endymion is named after one of the two main characters, Raul Endymion. Together with Aenea, they embark on a quest that will span the galaxies and many years. This is book #3 of a series of 4, although to be more precise, it should be said these are 2 sequential sets of 2 books each (as the names themselves imply). The book should be read after “Hyperion” and “Fall of Hyperion”. Curiously, the story is now told mostly in first-person by Raul Endymion.

As for the plot, this picks up almost three centuries after Fall of Hyperion, and the end of the farcaster network and instantaneous communication between worlds using the fatline channel. Human worlds across the universe have survived by regressing to old ways. This is the story of how Raul Endymion is recruited by the old poet Martin Silenus, kept alive by frequent cryogenic sleep, and tasked with saving Aenea, bringing down the church (which has become an oppressive force throughout the universe), and essentially save the future of the Human race.

This book explores religious zealotry, morality, and dependency relations (not only between social groups or people, but between organisms). The Ousters become a much more important part of the history compared to the previous 2 books, although they continue being only superficially involved in the story. New vital characters are introduced, such as Father De Soya, who will play a key role throughout books #3 and #4. The Core is also brought even more to the frontline, and its role in past and future events is better understood.

The action shifts slightly from that of the pilgrimage party and the entire Hegemony in previous books to become very focused on the 2 individuals mentioned (Raul and Aenea), as they try to outrun the forces hunting them, and also the actions of a few other important characters. There are many adrenaline-filled moments, and you will not want to put this book down. As in the previous ones, a few explanations are provided, but mystery continues to pervade most of the plot until the last book.

Spoilers (warning: the following text contains information that may hamper/ruin how much you enjoy the book):
We learn during the book about the Core’s influence on the church and the use of the parasitic cruciform to control humanity, although more on its purpose and function will only be revealed later. The book ends with Raul and Aenea having safely made it to Earth (aka Old Earth), in a faraway galaxy, and about to set on to ensure Aenea learns what she has to in order to play her role in the grand scheme of things.

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