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The Prefect

(Prefect Dreyfus Emergency #1)

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  16,680 ratings  ·  645 reviews
Tom Dreyfus is a Prefect, a law enforcement officer. His current case: investigating a murderous attack against one of the Glitter Band habitats that leaves nine hundred people dead. But then he uncovers an even greater threat-a covert plot by an enigmatic entity seeking nothing less than total control of the Glitter Band.
Kindle Edition, 516 pages
Published June 3rd 2008 by Ace (first published April 12th 2007)
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Amelia This is the first book I read in the series, and it was a mistake. The Prefect is for people who are already fans of this universe.
Deanna I would read the Revelation Space books first. At least, begin with the first one, Revelation Space. After that, you could pick up The Prefect or Chas…moreI would read the Revelation Space books first. At least, begin with the first one, Revelation Space. After that, you could pick up The Prefect or Chasm City. Both of those (especially Chasm City I think) are richer if read after Revelation Space. (less)
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Jun 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can see this novel being made into a film directed by Ridley Scott and in the mold of Alien and Blade Runner, or Peter Hyams' 1981 film starring Sean Connery Outland.

The Prefect, first published in 2007, by Welsh author Alastair Reynolds, is a stand alone novel but a part of his larger Revelation Space universe of stories and novels. It was a Locus Award nominee for Best SF novel in 2008 (Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policeman’s Union won that year) and was also a nominee for 2007 best novel b
Apr 27, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sci-fi fans
When I sat down to read The Prefect, I thought I was reading a sci-fi mystery along the lines perhaps of Leviathan Wakes. Then I thought I was perhaps reading The Last Policeman set in space: the dogged detective solving a crime no one cares about or needs solved. Turns out it was a sprawling space opera, and that just isn't what I expected at all. So a certain recalibration was necessary.

Though billed as a stand-alone novel, I couldn't help but feel like I was starting with Season Two of a seri
This is not a book that’s necessarily going to wow you. It’s not flashy. It’s not full of glitz or pizzazz. Basically this book ain’t got much bling. But I’ll tell you what this book does have: execution. The Prefect is thoughtfully and creatively designed, deceptively complex, and just plain well executed. Alastair Reynolds doesn’t use any tricks. He just put together a solid game plan and executed it with precision and style.

The Prefect makes me think of Stanford football’s offense in the Andr
Milda Page Runner
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Milda by: Lee

4.5* rounded up to 5*. Whilst it’s not flawless – personally I really enjoyed it and had hard time putting the book down. Given a chance I would have read it in few days.

Intense and fast paced sci-fi mystery thriller. Main focus is on the investigation and events evolve quickly. Worldbuilding and characterisation are kept light, giving you just enough to get the feel for the world (which is incredibly rich and interesting) and enough to connect with the main characters. Concise prose worked for
Manuel Antão
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Urinating-on-the-corpse-of-SF: "The Prefect" by Alastair Reynolds

“A starship built around a single massive engine designed to suck in interstellar hydrogen and use it for reaction mass. Because it didn’t have to carry its own fuel around, it could go almost as fast as it liked, right up to the edge of light-speed.”

In “The Prefect” by Alastair Reynolds

So you're happy about a 900-year old alien driving a ship that looks like a police bo
David Sven
Jul 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved it. My favourite Revelation Space novel to date. The only downside is it’s the last one and my Rev space journey has ended – but it has ended very satisfactorily. And at least there are more Alastair Reynolds novels to explore. This is the second book in the series I have listened to on audio and I have to say, John Lee does an excellent job at narration. It’s hard to describe how he adds to the overall tone of the book but I think he just adds a touch of sophistication, a touch of “dark ...more
This is an excellent, page turning murder mystery set in outer space, and I say that as someone who rarely reads mysteries and space operas. Urban fantasy is more my speed and space things--space ships, space suits, air locks, etc.--make me claustrophobic, and I did sort of feel it during the read, but the mystery was too good to put down.

There's a small quibble about the ending, which I think needs an epilogue, but since there's a sequel, it's not that big a deal. Well... it's not a big deal no
Mar 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2016, e-books
5 Stars

The Prefect by Alastair Reynolds is a nearly perfect book to me. I finally had to conclude my time in the Revelation Space universe by reading this one the 7th and final book of the epic space opera. People nitpick Reynolds and complain about his writing. They claim that his characters are too thin, his prose too plain, and his plots too complex. Well let me tell you, even if some of those points ring true at times, there is no denying that Reynolds is a masterful storyteller and a giant
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reynolds’ hybrid police procedural/space opera is great fun, if perhaps a little too frenzied in its plotting. Set in the Revelation Space universe, but about a century prior to the events of the main trilogy, The Prefect is about a law enforcement agency called Panoply, whose sole charge is to defend the democratic rights of citizens in the Glitter Band, a collection of thousands of human habitats in space. Senior Field Prefect Tom Dreyfus and his team investigate the shocking destruction of on ...more
Feb 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

That’s me now, at the end of The Prefect and Revelation Space series. I tried to stretch it as much as I could, but eventually it came to an end…

From the construction’s point of view, if Revelation Space is the thunderstorm, The Prefect is the rainbow after it. Gripping from the very first pages, it’s the most alert and colorful of the entire series. The descriptions of the habitats and their denizens are stunning; the technological and medical details are so punctilious they appear as real as
Nov 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alastair Reynolds is an author I keep coming back to like a regular customer, for the simple reason that he is among the top three best sci-fi authors working today (I have no idea who the other two are, I just estimate that if I were to do a top three ranking he would be in it).

The Prefect is set earlier in the Revelation Space timeline. This is not going to mean very much to anyone who has never read anything from Reynold’s epic Revelation Space series. That said this is a standalone book in t
A multi-faceted space opera detective story. It's detailed and pretty exciting, but a lot of characters are introduced in the first 20 pages or so, and it's a little hard to keep track of who's who when you don't know who are going to be the important ones (clue: they all are).

The habitats of the Glitter Band (satellites around planet Yellowstone) are part of a libertarian demarchy (democratic anarchy), which means constant polls of everyone about everything. Paonoply is the organisation in char
Jul 23, 2016 rated it liked it
OMG *Godzilla Facepalm*

This book started out so well, terrific, all through the first half. Great characters and tension, complex and wonderfully conceived, with good pacing.

Then.... about half way, BLAM, long-winded dialog, repeated repetition until you go nuts, STUPID STUPID plots twists, bad Hollywood dialogue.

What happens to Reynolds? About half way through writing his books, he seems to get BORED with them, and then just stumbles along.

Or, perhaps, his publisher demands a higher page count,
The Prefect: Complex detective procedural set among orbitals
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
The Prefect is the fifth Alastair Reynolds book I’ve read in his REVELATION SPACE series, though it is a stand-alone and set earlier in chronology than the other books. By the time of the main trilogy Revelation Space (2000), Redemption Ark (2002), and Absolution Gap (2003), the Glitter Band of 10,000 orbitals has already been destroyed by the corrosive Melding Plague, so we see only its wrecked af
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
** Notes from 2019 reread, original review below.

3.75 stars? This did not hold up as well on a reread for me.

Despite the fact enough time had passed between reads for me to have forgotten more about this book than I remembered, familiarity with the story inevitably leads to my paying more attention to the mechanics of the writing and storytelling.

Reynolds' Revelation Space universe is one of my favorite SF settings. The ideas Reynolds uses as wallpaper in his books are more interesting to me tha
Oct 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, wales
Alastair reynolds has become a highly competent writer of science fiction entertainments, able to balance his penchant for grotesquery and Gothicism with characters it is possible to like. In my view he has been more successful when limiting the scope of any given novel to one aspect of his larger imagined universe, allowing him to concentrate his powers of description, generating a strong flavour of the culture the action develops in. The Prefect does just that.

This particular novel is a detect
Mar 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all adults
Shelves: favorites
In addition to being great books, the Revelation Space series and Beyond The Aquila Rift establish one of my favorite settings. The Prefect takes place in The Glitter Band, a ring of ten thousand human habitats orbiting a planet called Yellowstone in the Epsilon Eridani system, 3.2 parsecs from Sol. Tom Dreyfuss, the major protagonist, is a field prefect for an organization called Panoply, which is charged with maintaining and protecting the democratic process in The Glitterband. Each habitat ha ...more
Jul 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Reynolds has without doubt become one of my favourite authors. Which is interesting
because early on in my reads of his books I found him to be too technical, taking hard scifi beyond what I could hope to understand. But as I read more of his works I have become to enjoy his work and to be honest, I think his work is just getting better

Story: 5/5
1: Being Vague, rambling plot with no little believable storyline
5: Ripping yarn, clever, thought provoking

The prefect is a stand alone story about
Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tbr-clean-2018
Well done detective novel based in space/future! My third read in the Revelation Space universe and they have all been 4 stars. I think I still like Revelation Space the best but I haven't had a miss yet.

Like so many of Reynolds' novels it seems to end with a bit of a whimper, the climaxes are definitely cerebral rather than epic which is good but usually that means I can never quite get to the 5 star rating. Regardless it was a captivating story based in a complex, believable universe. The st
Mike (the Paladin)
In this one I went from 4 stars down to 3 stars and then back to 4.

There are strong characters, a sturdy world (universe....multiverse?)and a good plot. The plot however started to fray badly about halfway through the book. I felt like he'd strewn his conspiracy laden plot out into a few too many strands and then let the strands sort of get out of control. The story lost focus and even began to wear a little thin out at the edges as he shifted from place to place, view to view, and character to
The Prefect started out rough for me. The characterization was shoddy through the opening act -- the only female viewpoint character, Thalia Ng, was also the only character who seemed to feel any emotion at all, and as she was mainly nervous and afraid her emotions undercut my respect for her as a prefect -- especially as the other prefects whose viewpoints Reynolds showed all appeared calm, cool, collected, and totally in control. There were also moments where Reynolds forced the characters to ...more
I was wondering how the trilogy would hold up in comparison to a kind-of prequel, and was delighted to see a greater exploration of Aurora in the hey-day of humanity's triumph. Even more, I enjoyed seeing the stakes for what they were and the premonitions of things to come. As a police procedural, it was a much better book, in my humble opinion, than Chasm City, although both had their definite charms. The stakes are always high in these books, as is the body count. I've now got my Reynolds swee ...more
Apr 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I havent read many books by this author but I always tell myself I should. This sounded like my thing, a sort of harder than normal scifi with police procedural elements. The start was excellent with the build up and the world building as well as the crime or issue that arises. My issue though comes into the characterisation. I just felt like everyone was overly similar and I felt that Dreyfuss was that exciting. It felt like two books, with the 2nd half having pretty cliched dialogue and resolu ...more
Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I fondly remember the Revelation Space series and with some time I my hands decided to 'fill-in' the bits I'd left out. Note this book was re-titled and can also be found as Aurora Rising .

I found this story disappointing.

Alastair Reynolds writes a very credible science fiction story. I like detective/science fiction crossovers. However, there was little mystery in this story, and you'd need an encyclopedic knowledge of Revelation Space to achieve context with the story. I really think the b
Sep 23, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, highly-readable, novel
Great fun!

Reynolds describes an Archipelago epistocracy - that is, a loose collection of thousands of city-states with their own weird constitutions (voluntary fascisms, upload city, voluntary coma land, luxury Running Man land), with federal votes weighted by your past performance at predicting / causing good changes. The only federal crimes are voting related: messing with the central vote, denying their citizens the vote. (They don't seem to enforce the other thing you'd need to make this min
Aug 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Alastair Reynolds is what I call a “heavyweight” Science Fiction author. His stories are deep, thoughtful, and have complex characters that inhabit his intricate fictional universe. His writing reminds me of Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, Robert Heinlein, and other masters of “hard” fiction. As much as I like and enjoy lighter fare, this is what I consider the epitome of excellent writing. Take any well-crafted novel by a great author in this genre and it compares favorably with the best fiction ...more
Jul 04, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delightful romp through politics and giddy inventions of the bizarre future society of the demarchists (democratic anarchism a post-scarcity system based on implants making constant polls) that reminds me of Sterling’s Schismatrix and Swanwick’s Vacuum Flowers. Reynold’s most on surface optimistic work is undercut by a creeping sadness that might in the end make this his most chilling and disturbing. Possible because it’s set in threatened utopia rather than his usual desolate settings of dead ...more
Tudor Ciocarlie
The Prefect is not the typical Revelation Space novel, but it's still another good and fun novel by Alastair Reynolds.

Reread if before the second book in series. I still consider it the weakest because Thalia's story is almost nonexistent.
Sep 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Despite never having heard his name before a year ago, British science fiction writer Alastair Reynolds has turned into one of my favorite authors.

In the space of about 8 months (December 2009 through July 2010), I have read five of his novels, all of which are set in his Revelation Space universe. Those books are (in the order I read them) Revelation Space, Redemption Ark, Chasm City, Absolution Gap and The Prefec.

The Revelation Space universe is at least as interesting as P
Oct 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 giant novels, 2 novellas, and a collection of short stories later, I have sadly completed everything Reynolds has written in the wonderful Revelation Space Universe. Not once has he let me down, and The Prefect was a nice way to finish it up for me.


If you want to look at it chronologically, The Prefect is actually the earliest book in the series but the last book to be published in it (not counting the short stories Great Wall of Mars, Glacial and maybe 1 or 2 others)
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Lettori sui generis: GdL di aprile: Il prefetto di Alastair Reynolds 11 17 Apr 19, 2019 11:24PM  
SciFiBN: June 2019: The Prefect by Alastair Reynolds 1 2 Oct 12, 2018 10:37AM  

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I'm Al, now a Goodreads author. I used to be a space scientist, and now I'm a writer, although for a time the two careers ran in parallel. I started off publishing short stories in the British SF magazine Interzone in the early 90s, then eventually branched into novels. I write about a novel a year and try to write a few short stories as well. Some of my books and stories are set in a consistent f ...more

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