Peter F. Hamilton offers up a different perspective on human colonization of space this time around and instead of unbridled success expansion quickly becomes financially non-viable after the first wave of colony planets are established. With the companies behind the initial expansion going heavily into debt a new form of corporate terrorism begins to arise. Financially failing colonies are purchased by investors on Earth who then send military forces there to conduct "asset realization" missions where they take by force anything that will have value back on Earth. This is a completely legal thing to do from an Earth based perspective but the colony inhabitants don't take too kindly to these "invading" forces and it is one such asset realization mission that acts as the main backdrop for the story of Fallen Dragon.
Peter F. Hamilton
Despite being only two books in length the Commonwealth Saga manages to deliver an epic science fiction story from the mind of author Peter F. Hamilton. The first book, Pandora's Star, is aptly named as it sets the stage by telling the tale of how humanity lets curiosity unleash a threat upon the galaxy that it is in no way prepared to handle. Multi-century lifespans and instant wormhole travel between stars has made humanity overly complacent and easy prey for the Prime aliens who are ruthless, aggressive, and without mercy. Survival of the fittest may have served us well in the distant past but now it is time to find out if we are able to channel our inner predator or if we finally become prey to someone else.
Pandora's Star is the book where Peter F. Hamilton first introduces readers to the human Commonwealth. It is the year 2380 and humanity has populated several hundred worlds across hundreds of light years, all due to wormhole technology. That is when a single astronomer observes something unexplainable about 1000 light years from Earth - two stars just disappear when they become simultaneously enclosed by some kind of structure. This sparks all kinds of debate within the Commonwealth as whoever did this must have technology far superior to humanity and could pose a serious threat to the Commonwealth despite the distance. What to do about it? Sit back and do nothing hoping to avoid detection by these superior aliens or attempt to find a way to traverse the massive distance to take a closer look? Neither option is a great one and the Commonwealth's ultimate decision makes up the core of this interesting story.
Throughout the first two books of this series, the Edeard story line (from inside the Void) seemed to overshadow the far more numerous threads related to events happening outside the Void. Edeard's life in Makkathran was just more interesting and the growth of his psychic powers kept things fresh as he pursued his quest to achieve fulfillment. As his story line progressed it also provided much needed context to explain why the human Living Dream movement was willing to put the entire galaxy at risk with their pilgrimage into the Void. Despite numerous factions and alien species willing to go "all in" to stop them, Living Dream was prepared to do anything for a chance to achieve fulfillment. Would their pilgrimage trigger a Void expansion phase so large that the galaxy was consumed? Would anyone be able to stop them before they got there? With the stage finally set Peter F. Hamilton answers those questions and more as he concludes the series and unveils the mystery of the Void once and for all.
The mystery of the void at the center of the galaxy, as introduced in The Dreaming Void, makes the perfect center piece around which to tell a complex story. Peter F. Hamilton starts to converge his various story lines from book one as he elevates the stakes across the board. The Living Dream religious movement is convinced that their planned Pilgrimage into the void holds the key to their fulfillment and they are desperate to find the "second dreamer" who will lead them to their promised land. Certain factions within the ANA:Governance continue to supply advanced technology to the Pilgrimage in exchange for coming along, yet their motives for doing so remain unknown. At the same time an alien armada is heading toward human space hell bent on stopping the Pilgrimage at any cost, convinced that if the Pilgrimage reaches the void then the galaxy will be consumed. Times are desperate as the Commonwealth Navy has failed in every attempt to stop the armada and is now considering activating the Deterrence Fleet, which is their mysterious weapon of last resort. And the key to all of this, the second dreamer, remains in hiding wanting nothing to do with Living Dream or their rediculous Pilgrimage.
The Intersolar Commonwealth of mankind has spread across thousands of stars but humanity is no more united in 3058 AD than it was when it existed on a single planet. Multiple factions with wildly different agendas vie to advance their beliefs in their own unique ways. One of those factions, the Living Dream movement, is planning something that could impact every species in the galaxy - a Pilgrimage to the Void. The Void lies at the center of the galaxy, and according to the Raiel, the oldest and most advanced species known to man, it is a destructive force that expands from time to time destroying everything in its wake. The Raiel dread the next expansion phase and they know that not even the might of their technology can do anything to stop it. They do not want Living Dream to tempt fate with their Pilgrimage and they are not alone in that belief.
It is the year 2142 and in the city of Newcastle there is a mystery that needs to be solved. Police detective Sidney Hurst is called on the scene when a body is fished out of the Tyne river. As soon as he lays eyes on the corpse with the wound in the chest he knows that he is in deep - the body is a North. The North family is the most powerful family in mankind's inter-planetary expanse and they run Northumberland Interstellar which is responsible for providing all of the bio fuel humanity relies on. Nobody messes with the North family and of course their response to any threat is swift and brutal. Someone will be convicted of this crime and it will certainly happen quickly, evidence be damned. Unfortunately for Sid, he is now stuck in the middle of this mess.