Here’s the next installment in my, “Books Off the Shelf” series. So Many Books, So Little Time! I will attempt to give you an idea on some books you might enjoy or not enjoy quite as much without ruining it with too many spoilers.
Judas Unchained (The Commonwealth Saga Book 2)
By Peter F. Hamilton
Rating 8.5 out of 10
Hamilton’s previous novel, the acclaimed Pandora’s Star, introduced the Intersolar Commonwealth, a star-spanning civilization of the twenty-fourth century. Robust, peaceful, and confident, the Commonwealth dispatched a ship to investigate the mystery of a disappearing star, only to inadvertently unleash a predatory alien species that turned on its liberators, striking hard, fast, and utterly without mercy.
The Prime are the Commonwealth’s worst nightmare. Coexistence is impossible with the technologically advanced aliens, who are genetically hardwired to exterminate all other forms of life. Twenty-three planets have already fallen to the invaders, with casualties in the hundreds of millions. And no one knows when or where the genocidal Prime will strike next.
Nor are the Prime the only threat. For more than a hundred years, a shadowy cult, the Guardians of Selfhood, has warned that an alien with mind-control abilities impossible to detect or resist–the Starflyer–has secretly infiltrated the Commonwealth. Branded as terrorists, the Guardians and their leader, Bradley Johansson, have been hunted by relentless investigator Paula Myo. But now evidence suggests that the Guardians were right all along, and that the Starflyer has placed agents in vital posts throughout the Commonwealth–agents who are now sabotaging the war effort. Is the Starflyer an ally of the Prime, or has it orchestrated a fight to the death between the two species for its own advantage?
Caught between two deadly enemies, one a brutal invader striking from without, the other a remorseless cancer killing from within, the fractious Commonwealth must unite as never before.
This will be humanity’s finest hour–or its last gasp.
So, Judas Unchained is less the second book in this series than it is the second half of the first book, Pandora’s Star. I reviewed Pandora’s Star here if you missed it: http://www.ryanjdoughan.com/blog/-books-off-the-shelf-pandoras-star-by-peter-f-hamilton . Both books are tomes, and I can completely understand why they are two books instead of one, but in truth the story really just picks up where it left off with Judas Unchained.
This book is action packed with so many twists and turns it will leave you spinning. The picture Hamilton paints of humanity’s society shifting to envelope the very real and very near threat of Prime life is realistically fitting. This pared with the heaping evidence of the Starflyer make for a delightful ride.
There are a few untied up loose ends and a “high speed chase” type scene toward the end of the book that stretches on a bit long, but other than that Hamilton offers us a tremendously fun story. As I said before, this is a definitely not a book for kids, with some more adult content sprinkled throughout, but the story in fantastic. If you like sweeping storytelling mixed with terrific writing, You should try out Pandora’s Star and then Judas Unchained. It is more than worth your time.
If you’ve read Judas Unchained or any of Hamilton’s other work, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a message below. And as ever, if you have suggestions of books to review, please let me know. If it is Science Fiction or Fantasy, there is a good chance it is on my shelf or should be.
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Ryan J. Doughan