Jul 12, 15
Read from April 04 to 15, 2015
Hamilton delivers his usual dose of a high tech future filled with very human characters existing casually with the technology of the day. As usual, he throws in casual references to things which do not need to be explained, but can be inferred. As usual for Hamilton, this builds into a rich and very believable world which in which we could see ourselves living in. Set in its own universe, the Earth of Great North Road falls somewhere between his vision in the Greg Mandel series (some of his best work in my opinion) and the rather more futuristic Commonwealth Saga, but is a little different to each.
With two main separate but connection story lines in the book, there was fun on both sides. I ended up being much more interested in the somewhat more old fashioned police story which was playing out in Newcastle than the thriller arc which was unfolding on the planet of St. Libra. Part of this was probably due to the portrayal of the forensic investigation, the use of virtual reality, the use of dust and surveillance recordings to track crime scenes, the discussion of cost and bureaucracy and corruption even in the twenty second century or whether this was just because I found the premise of that part of the story much more believable, I am not sure.
I found the St. Libra arc a little more difficult to accept, partially due to main character of Angel Tramelo striking me as being a bit too similar to some of his characters from the Commenwealth Saga. However, my main issue with it was simply the premise that such an incredibly costly and disruptive expedition would take place at all on the strength of such flimsy evidence, never mind that it could materialise so quickly. On the other hand, there were a lot of nice flash backs to explain character background which added depth to the characters.
However, in the end, I found the resolution and the final revelations to be a bit disappointing and rather derivative of some of his other work, which I felt was a bit of a shame, as this is definitely becoming a central theme in his works.