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Great North Road
Peter F. Hamilton
Del Rey, 951 pages

Great North Road
Peter F. Hamilton
Peter F. Hamilton was born in Rutland, UK in 1960. In addition to the three Greg Mandel novels, Mindstar Rising, A Quantum Murder and The Nano Flower (all from Tor), he is the author of the UK bestseller, The Reality Dysfunction, which, along with The Neutronium Alchemist, form volumes 1 and 2 of Night's Dawn trilogy.

Peter F. Hamilton Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Evolutionary Void
SF Site Review: The Temporal Void
SF Site Review: The Dreaming Void
SF Site Review: Judas Unchained
SF Site Review: Misspent Youth
SF Site Review: The Reality Dysfunction
SF Site Review: A Second Chance at Eden
SF Site Review: Greg Mandel Trio
SF Site Review: A Quantum Murder
SF Site Review: The Neutronium Alchemist

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Dominic Cilli

Great Road North is a meticulously crafted novel that blends murder mystery, horror story and thriller into one very compelling and entertaining science fiction novel. This should come as no surprise to fans of Peter Hamilton. He has consistently proven himself to be one of the most creative and imaginative writers in science fiction. There aren't very many authors out there who can juggle three genres, a couple dozen characters and a multitude of plot threads with this much detail and pull it all together into one seamless novel, but Hamilton does just that in Great North Road.

In 2143 a member of the world's most powerful family, the Norths, shows up murdered. He is found with his chest punctured five times in a circular pattern and his heart shredded from the inside. This unusual method of death has only been seen once before, twenty years earlier, when the mysterious Angela Tramelo was accused and convicted of slaughtering another important member of the North family along with 15 other people at his private mansion. Angela had always claimed it was a monster, now it seems she may have been correct, as the latest North murder took place while she was incarcerated. Since Angela is the only person to have ever seen the monster and survive, she is released into custody to be a part of the search to find the alien and she may yet hold the key to unraveling the mystery of the North murders. A full-scale scientific expedition to the alien's home world of St. Libra is launched with Angela as one of their members, but the ill-fated expedition runs into more than its fair share of trouble as, one by one, the members start showing up dead.

There is a lot going on in Great North Road. The plot may seem like a routine action thriller but when you put it into a highly developed science fiction context it turns into something extraordinary. The science expedition on St. Libra plays out a little bit like the films The Thing or Predator. While the murder investigation portion of the book plays out like a futuristic detective thriller. It's great fun and doesn't sacrifice anything to attain the depth we have all come to know and expect from Peter F. Hamilton. The length of the book alone should tell you that. It is all space well used. If Hamilton isn't furthering the storyline, he's adding layers into his world or developing his vast array of characters. All of the main people receive the rich treatment they deserve and no detail is too small. Hamilton gives us multiple protagonists and a host of plot threads and perspectives to crunch on while sharing his fantastic vision of the future with us. Great North Road is a long journey, but it does pay off for readers in the end.

With Great North Road, you can go ahead and mark down another win for Peter F. Hamilton and, by proxy, fans of space opera. It is work like this that makes Peter Hamilton a pillar among writers and a giant in the world of science fiction.

Copyright © 2012 Dominic Cilli

When asked to write a third-person tag line for his reviews, Dominic Cilli farmed the work out to an actual 3rd person, his friend Neal, who in turn turned it over to a second person who then asked his third cousin to help out and this person whom Dom doesn't even know then wrote in 8th person Omniscient mode "Dom's breadth of knowledge in literature runs the gamut and is certainly not bounded by the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre. One thing I can say with certainty is that of all the people I don't know who've ever recommended books to read, Dom's recommendations are the best."

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