Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Naked God – Part I: Flight

Peter F. Hamilton
MacMillan, 2000 (my copy is from Warner Books, 2000)
Size: Epic (my copy has 778 pages)
Theme: Futuristic space opera
Narrative: third-person
Main character: Joshua Calvert
Recommended minimum age: Young Adult
Would purchase as a gift to any sci-fi reader: YES

In this third and last novel of the Night’s Dawn trilogy (book 5 of 6 in the two-volumes per novel edition), conflict escalates and the plot starts unraveling toward the final events. For a global description of the universe Hamilton created for this series you should refer to my reviews of previous books, particularly that of the first book of the series (Reality Dysfunction – Part I). The length and depth of the novel is nothing short of exceptional. I find this a very positive aspect of a book when the story is very good; after the initial time overhead in learning the Night’s Dawn universe and getting familiar with the characters and locations, I greatly enjoyed that there was a lot to read about it. Sometimes, short stories are frustrating precisely for the opposite reason. 

The story follows Joshua Calvert, who returns to the Confederation to inform that the Alchemist device has been destroyed, only to be tasked with joining a voidhawk crew in searching after the Tyrathca’s Sleeping God, which might be humanity’s last hope.  Most of this novel (both volumes in fact) will focus on this sub-plot, since this search involves first exploring a Tyrathca asteroid, then travelling across the Galaxy, and finally, trying to interact with the Tyrathca to learn the secrets behind their divinity. Meanwhile, Quinn Dexter manages to get on Earth and starts expanding his army there, setting up bases with satanic sects in multiple locations. We will witness the struggle by the survivors at the Valisk habitat, the Confederation plan to develop a weapon that will nullify all the possessed (and subsequently, all souls trapped in the beyond). Louise starts taking action, as she decides to go after Dexter to kill him.

Related work:

Note that you should read this book after the previous volume, “Neutronium Alchemist - Part II: Conflict”. The Night Dawn’s trilogy starts in The Reality Dysfunction, continues in The Neutronium Alchemist and ends in The Naked God. 

Spoilers (warning: the following text contains information that may hamper/ruin how much you enjoy the book):

At the end of the book, Oenone has to pull a complex maneuver, swallowing inside the Tyrathca arkship to rescue Joshua’s crew; Etchells, the hellhawk who’s been covertly pursuing the two vessels, finds himself exhausted and decides to return to the organization to describe the events he’s witnessed. Ione has been in continuous contact with Joshua’s crew through a few serjeants they brought from Tranquility for added security and firepower. Dexter manages to find out that he’s being hunted, and starts following Louise in order to determine exactly what the powers against him are. The B7 group plans to take him down using SD platforms from space, sacrificing whatever part of a city they have to. 

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