Monday, July 11, 2011

The Neutronium Alchemist – Part II: Conflict

Peter F. Hamilton
MacMillan, 1997 (my copy is from Warner Books, 1998)
Size: Long (my copy has 580 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

This book continues the story from “Part I – Consolidation”, number 2 of the 3 novels in the Night’s Dawn trilogy (book 4 of 6 in the two-volumes per novel edition). For a global description of the universe Hamilton created for this series you should refer to my review on the first book of the series (Reality Dysfunction – Part I). As the previous books, this novel is full of action, mystery, adventure and a bit of horror. The plot continues to plow on, relentless, as it pushes the reader forward at every page. I cannot remember ever setting this book down bored or uninterested. The plot itself and the way the narrative is told combine to create an excellent reading experience. To assist the readers who might have read the previous book some time ago, the novel starts with a list of characters as well as a list of ships, habitats, asteroids and planets.

In this book, as Joshua travels through Dorados, he is acquainted with his brother, Liol, who he did not know existed. Liol joins the crew as they argue over their rights to the ship. At the habitat that Rubra controls, the possessed continue to expand their numbers, and even as Dariat decides to join forces with Rubra to stop the collective possessed, the entire habitat is transported to an alternate reality. Joshua’s crew hunt for Mzu continues, as other players reveal themselves, including a strange powerful man called Dick Keaton. Large space and land battles between the confederation and the organization led by Capone continue to ensue. This volume will introduce new technologies (including a nifty one at Tranquility), and we learn more about the powers and motivations of the possessed, such as transporting themselves entirely to alternate pockets of reality when in relatively large groups.

Related work:
Note that you should read this book after the previous volume, “Neutronium Alchemist - Part I: Consolidation”. 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):

Mzu is captured by Joshua and special operative teams that had joined him in this task. Joshua ends up destroying the Alchemist device. Quinn Dexter leaves for Earth, where he wants to invoke the Night, a way to bridge the realm of the dead and the “normal” universe. He now has the ability to shift to a different plane of reality, where ghosts dwell, and which enables him to move entirely undetected anywhere (including through all security measures around Earth).

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