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The Prefect Paperback

4.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Gollance Publishing
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575078189
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575078185
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 3.2 x 24.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 726 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,100,797 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
Not as epic as the previous volumes in the Revelation Space series, more of a police thriller really, but Reynolds is at his best, drawing us in. My favorite of his yet?
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Format: Paperback
Set in the Revelation Space universe but long before the melding plague struck, we get a chance to see the glory (or perhaps the hedonistic pointlessness) of the Glitter Band in its heyday. The story chronicles the evolution of a seemingly simple vote rigging investigation into a massive conspiracy that threatens to overwhelm the Glitter Band and, although this book can be read as a stand-alone novel, some prior knowledge of the earlier Revelation stories is useful. As the plot twists and turns in classic Reynolds fashion, the main protagonists, Prefect Dreyfus and loyal sidekick Sparver, provide a solid Sergeant Vimes / Corporal Carrot base for the complex narrative. Having recently read Redemption Ark, I was a bit puzzled by the reappearance of the Exordium device; it can't be the same one which Galliana uses centuries later so the Conjoiners must have built another one (not impossible, obviously, but I had the impression that there was only one - I'll just have to read Redemption Ark again). I also kept expecting the threat from Aurora to be the melding plague; surely there has to be a book explaining the source of the plague.

Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this book; Reynolds has not produced a poor story yet. Set in a consistent hard sci-fi universe carefully plotted and populated with plausible characters, The Prefect adds further depth and solidity to the Revelation universe.

More Alastair Reynolds, now!
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Format: Kindle Edition
I've read a lot of Reynolds' books...the man does not lack for talent. So with The Prefect, it's a real pleasure to return to the "Revelation Space" universe. It's almost like the opposite of Chasm we get to see the Yellowstone system during it's glory days, as opposed to it's rust-belt days. None of that tedious "Inhibitor" stuff from the later-universe novels.

Now if I've had any quarrel with Reynolds, he has a bad habit (of late) of leaving his books unfinished. Or perhaps not so much "unfinished" as tacking on a very rushed ending. "Absolution Gap" was an almost unforgivable example of this.

So how does The Prefect hold up? Story wise, we find ourselves back in the Yellowstone system during the glory days. The life in the Glitter Band is very well fleshed out...we really get to see what a "democratic anarchy" would look like (and it looks a lot like social media, oddly). No plagues have hit, no nanite swarms are threatening and there are no whispers from weird alien species from other universes...No, we're back into the world of Calvin Sylveste and his experiments (albeit after the so-called "80"), into the weird and wonderful self-contained habitats swirling around Yellowstone. Chasm City is at it's peak, although the story never goes there. And we start off with a murder-mystery.

Now I really enjoyed the "murder mystery" angle of Century Rain. In this novel Reynolds has refined it even further. The story doesn't get bogged down anywhere (unlike the last two books of the Revelation Space tale). It moves at a rapid clip and doesn't give you time to stop and ask "what's an abstraction?" or "what is quickmatter?
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Format: Paperback
Panoply keeps the peace between the ten thousand independent habitats orbiting the planet Yellowstone. Its prefects can only enforce rules governing relationships between habitats and ensure that all citizens are allowed to vote on cross-habitat issues. Sometimes prefects see things they would prefer not to see, but they cannot interfere.

Field Prefect Tom Dreyfus comes across as a 20th century private detective. He is smart, weary, cynical, and doesn't make diplomacy his first priority. He and his two deputies enforce Panoply's mandates. Thalia Ng is inexperienced, grateful to work with Dreyfus, and eager to prove herself. The other deputy is a hyperpig. (This is science fiction, remember.) Sparver is tough, loyal, and grimly tolerant of verbal abuse from people who don't like pigs. Dreyfus and his team investigate the explosive destruction of the Ruskin-Sartorious habitat and loss of nearly a thousand lives. As the investigation proceeds they encounter betrayal, more mass murder, and a fascinating menagerie of characters with competing agendas.

The book follows a familiar crime-story plot line, enhanced by science fiction settings, people and technology. The "Glitter Band" civilization and the various habitat subcultures are inventive and spring some interesting surprises. Characters include artificial intelligences ranging from low-fidelity "beta-level" copies of humans to powerful, incomprehensible entities like the Clockmaker. Humans have technological enhancements as well as cultural and individual quirks. The most interesting tech tidbit is the prefect's "whiphound" weapon. Picture a lightsabre which exudes, instead of a truncated laser beam, a long metallic tendril.
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