Book 1 of the "Commonwealth Saga"
ISBN - 978-0-330-51891-8
FIRST PUBLISHED - 2004
PAGES - 1244
GENRE - Sci-Fi
BINDING - Paperback
AUTHOR - PETER F. HAMILTON
SYNOPSIS - [From the back cover]
It is AD 2380 and humanity has colonized over six hundred planets, all interlinked by wormholes. With Earth as its centre, the Intersolar Commonwealth has grown into a quiet, wealthy society, where rejuvenation allows its citizens to live for centuries.
When astronomer Dudley Bose observes a star over a thousand light years away vanish, imprisoned inside a force field of immense size, the Commonwealth is anxious to discover what actually happened. As conventional wormholes can't reach that far, they must build the first faster-than-light starship. Captained by Wilson Kime, an ex-NASA astronaut a little too eager to relieve his glory days, the Second Chance sets off on its historic voyage of discovery.
But someone or something out there must have had a very good reason for sealing off an entire star system. And if the Second Chance does manage to find a way in, what might then be let out?
FL SPEAK - This is a monster of a book and an epic space saga. And I mean it in the best way possible. There is a reason why I don't read Science Fiction a lot. Its much easier to watch Star Trek than to read it. Even though with a lot of trepidation I picked the up, my faith in miracles was restored. This is not just the standard run-of-the-mill space action flick, this is so much more.
The first para starts the funny part amidst all the technical jargon as Captain Wilson Kime is about to be the first man to land on Mars. The climax is hilarious. Fast forward to a couple of hundreds of years and humans now live in almost any planet they can find. But this book is so much more than your average sci fi drama. The Commonwealth is what you would call a governing body. And the sciences!! Frigging awesome. Although some words still goes zooom over my head [am not too much of a space geek even though I worship the show Firefly]
World building is fabulous and on a grand scale. Don't be put off by the 1244 pages long book, its worth it.
When two stars suddenly wink out in a matter of minutes, the Commonwealth think its time to explore outward again. The Second Chance is sent to investigate when they realize that there is a barrier covering the stars. We humans are curious by nature. We simply don't let things be as they are. The Second Chance was launched to figure out who out up the barrier and why! And that might be the fall of humankind as we knew it. The Commonwealth wanted to know if the barrier was put up to contain someone or annihilate a star system. And that proved one thing atleast. There are superior life forms out there somewhere.
But the crew of the Second Chance had no idea what they were in for. Days after reaching their target, the barrier came down. And the Second Chance had to defend themselves against waves of attacks before jumping into hyperspace.
This is a space odyssey! A marvelous tale. The characters are impossible to hate. What I loved most about the book was not the travel to investigate the stars. Its the situations in between. There is Paula Myo, investigative officer, hell bent on capturing a famous terrorist who vehemently believes there is an alien among humans corrupting them. Then there is the other sentient alien ship, whose motives are still unknown.
And before the final page is over, I've started to believe that the terrorsits might actually be right. Bloody gave me goosebumps all over.
Eager to get into the final book now.
My Rating - 4.5 stars
PRICE - INR 400/-