Redemption Ark Paperback – Dec 11 2008
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Redemption Ark is Alastair Reynolds's third hefty SF novel, a direct sequel to his debut book Revelation Space, and also linked with Chasm City, which won the British SF Association Award. Gripping high-tech action features various groups struggling for control of a cache of "hell-class weapons", while the alien Inhibitors--who stamp out space-going intelligence wherever they find it--are busy dismantling planets to build a doomsday engine of awesome size.
Building on the previous books, the interstellar situation is exhilaratingly complex. Major players from Revelation Space are still at large in the solar system containing the new Inhibitor construction site, the vast old starship Nostalgia for Infinity (hideously transformed and merged with its captain by "Melding Plague"), the hell-weapons, and the colonized planet Resurgam--which may need to be evacuated at speed.
Many light years away, the mechanically enhanced human Conjoiners are fighting a space war around Yellowstone, the world of Chasm City. Although victory approaches, the Conjoiners are frantically building advanced starships and planning to run for their lives, thanks to an incredibly dangerous project that sucked information from the future--including news of the Inhibitors. The Conjoiners have their own internal factions, at least one of which isn't what it seems, and a fresh split leads to a tense relativistic race for the Resurgam system and those coveted hell-weapons. Booby-traps and deadly strategems enliven the desperate journey.
Other, non-Conjoiner humans--not to mention machine intelligences and genetically engineered man-pig chimeras--are caught up in the intrigue and violence. Many members of this large cast have inner secrets, other identities, painful relationships, long-concealed guilt. As at last they converge on the Resurgam system, there are jolting surprises.
Meanwhile, the immense past and future of Reynolds' universe becomes clearer, a cosmic tapestry with the deep-time scope of Stephen Baxter's Xeelee series, ranging from the Dawn War in the early aeons of galactic life to a cataclysmic event still three billion years in the future. A disaster which the loathed robotic Inhibitors are working patiently to minimise....
Despite minor glitches in story logic, Redemption Ark is a hugely enjoyable and ambitious interstellar epic, a must-read for fans of SF that operates on a truly colossal scale. --David Langford --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
With this complex, thoughtful sequel to his highly praised Revelation Space (2001), British author Reynolds confirms his place among the leaders of the hard-science space-opera renaissance. Spreading from star to star, humanity has split into different, competing factions. Late in the 26th century, the group-mind Conjoiners are defeating their main rivals, the Demarchists. Unfortunately, the Conjoiners' space exploration has attracted the notice of an ancient swarm of machines that calls itself the Inhibitors and that exists to destroy all biological intelligence. The Conjoiners don't believe they can fight this new foe, so they intend to run away and let the Inhibitors wipe out the other human tribes. One Conjoiner warrior, the centuries-old Clavain, rebels against this heartless tactic, but he must negotiate with a fragmented, distrustful mob of possible allies while pursued by his former cohorts. The novel forces readers to process an outrageous amount of information-but that's only fair, since the characters are challenged to do the same. As they extend themselves outward, they also have a chance to gain more understanding of themselves as human beings and more ability to interact meaningfully. It's rare to find a writer with sufficient nerve and stamina to write novels that are big enough to justify using words like "revelation" and "redemption." Reynolds pulls it off.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Reynold's universe is a worthy rival to Bank's Culture in complexity, depth and consistency and, in fact, if Reynolds had come before Banks the comparison would have been the other way around. Also, and to Reynold's credit, I've thankfully not encountered an Alistair Reynolds that comes anywhere near Bank's Excession or Inversions, both of which I found to be utterly incomprehensible.
The ship's Captain, John Armstrong Brannigan, has been mostly consumed by the nanoplague, which has also spread to the ship systems themselves. Volyova has reduced the Captain's temperature to cryogenic levels and tried various anti-nanite measures with no success. So the lighthugger has came to Yellowstone in the Epsilon Eridani system to procure the services of Dan Sylveste to treat the Captain's condition. However, Sylveste was no longer there, having gone to Resurgam in the Delta Pavonis system.
Ana Khouri was an ex-soldier and assassin impressed into the service of the Mademoiselle, who had Khouri's husband in a reefer. The Mademoiselle had plans for Dan Sylveste and Khouri was her chosen agent to execute these plans. Nonetheless, a copy of the Mademoiselle would be riding an implant within Khouri's brain during the mission.
Ila Volyova needed a gunner to replace Nagorny. When Khouri applied for a ride to Delta Pavonis, Volyova covertly tested her aptitudes and implants and then snapped her up as a crewmember. But Volyova also deeply conditioned Khouri for loyalty before allowing her to join the crew.Read more ›
However, there are many problems with Redemption Ark. It was far less enjoyable to read then either Chasm city or Revelation Space. The strength of Reynolds writing comes largely from his was imagination that is not too far detached from realistic outlook on scientific principles of today (such as our inability to achieve the speed of light). He presents us a whole new and exciting world of the future, the world that is based on the assumption of human race having the intelligence to propagate its survival by colonizing space. The setting Reynolds presented was so convincing and intriguing that it made Revelation Space almost like an ethnographic account of new cultures as well as a novel at the same time. Chasm city had some of the same element but Redemption Ark had almost nothing new. Once again we find ourselves in the same world but we are no longer impressed by it, but find ourselves in a familiar territory.
Writer's style also started wearing off in its ingenuity. Reading Redemption Ark felt like being supplied with tiny spoons of interesting plot points drifting amid empty conversational and narration filler. It is if we are feed the relevant information at more or less constant rate as we progressed towards the end.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Excellent read, hardly wished to put the book down. One of my favourite authorsPublished 1 month ago by Arnold DeRoy
A somewhat long trilogy. Written only for the hard core science fiction fan.Published 23 months ago by Spencer21