Read of the Week

Salvation

Peter F Hamilton

Pan Macmillan

Review: Lauren O’Connor-May

Don’t judge a book by its first three chapters. That’s not quite how the saying goes, but in this case, it applies to me.

I was ready to dismiss this book as another rehash of sci-fi clichés before the end of the third chapter, but things suddenly took an interesting turn.

The book is about the human race battling an alien force bent on its destruction.

*Sigh* nothing new there. In fact, nearly every sci-fi staple makes an appearance in the book: alien abductions, humanity’s battle to defend itself against a vastly-advanced alien species, aliens living hidden among us, androgynous humans, dizzyingly amazing tech, artificially prolonged human life, distant planet terraforming, space ships controlled by live brains – think of anything that’s been written about in other sci-fi stories and you’ll probably find it in Salvation.

But Salvation’s salvation lies in the writing. The familiar sci-fi threads are woven together into a very clever story, with a crisply-crafted narrative and many strange surprises. The plot twists are so cleverly hidden that I often skipped back chapters to see how I had missed the clues.

The story is told in multiple parts, from several characters’ points of view and stretches across millenia. The first part of the story is in the semi-distant future and spans a few hundred years. The second part takes place untold millennia later. It’s not immediately clear, but the war which started in the first part, is still carrying on in the second.

I liked this book, not only because it was entertaining but also because it is a brain work-out of note, with lots of science and philosophy (what would sci-fi be without those) a lot of which went over my head.

Despite this, I could still keep up with the main storyline which was full of cliffhangers and
drama.

The book is the first of a planned series, which the author seems to have put a lot of thought and planning into – based on the timeline at the
end.

I hope he doesn’t dally about launching the next book in the series because like any good soap opera, it’s addictive. I need my next fix.