Sarah
Sarah asked:

Do I need to have read the previous Commonwealth and Void trilogy before starting this?

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Leslie Yes. Start with Pandora's Star, then Judas Unchained, then read the 3 Void books, The Dreaming Void, The Temporal Void, The Evolutionary Void. In a year (4051 pages) you might be ready for The Abyss Beyond Dreams. :)
Tyler I just finished it as well without reading any other Commonweath novels - it was fine (great book too).
Ammon Lauritzen Yes. There are so many callbacks to the previous novels that you will miss out on.

The story itself holds together very well on its own... but you'd miss connections and allusions, and I don't think that the experience would be as deep. If you don't want to go back and start at Pandora's Star, I would think that at least reading the other Void novels would cover most things.
Jennifer I would highly recommend starting with Commonwealth and the Void series before reading this book. Because if you go back and read those books AFTER this one then you will be completely devastated that many of the mysteries in those books are revealed as spoilers in this book (taken as facts the reader already knows). Maybe this is a good stand alone if you never plan on reading the other books, but I think you'll want to read the other books - therefore, read them first!
Peter Roland Hello Sarah!
Whenever I review a Peter F Hamilton book, I always add a preface..
1. This is a LONG book.
2. This is part of a series.

I do that, because, many years ago, I received one of his books as a gift. With no idea it was part of a series, I almost gave it away. But discovered the first book before I did.
I've been an addict ever since.
Some authors write series that can stand alone.
I don't believe Hamilton is one of them!
I hope that helps!

Peter Anthony Roland
Miami Beach Florida
Les I've just finished this and I reckon that it would be okay to read without first reading prior Commonwealth books. Hamilton hopes that you can too:

"I wrote it in such a way that someone coming fresh to my work could pick it up and not be totally lost in references as to what happened before."
--http://sf-fantasy.suvudu.com/2014/10/...

There really isn't much contained in the previous books that is crucial to this story, but it wouldn't hurt to read them first, I guess. Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained are fantastic novels.
Kevin I would highly recommend it. The character development of Nigel would enable you to understand him and his motives. Reading this new book without knowing the complete history of the Void would probably take away much of the enjoyment of the read. Additionally, there are a few other characters that I would expect to reappear in this new book. They also have a rich history.

Besides, the previous books are awesome! and well worth reading. You wouldn't regret it.
Rotuma I would recommend you do ... That way you can understand the development of the characters (and grow with them) throughout the series.
Muzzy Ch YES - YOU DO - You will enjoy it a LOT more and it will make much more sense if you read the other books (Which are great by the way) I'd start with Pandoras star as Leslie suggested
Ben Lynch absolutely not, no... this book stands on it's own, the previous series is not nearly as well written as this one either... just start with this book :)
Clay Brown No you really don't need to read the other books of Hamilton... start with this trilogy and then you can always pick it up 'Back Then' as it were, best to see if you really like what he's doing first...
Patric van Beek yes going to do that...
Wassim Too late for me, I guess. I've just finished this book and really enjoyed it. It works great as a standalone. I'm still in two minds about whether I want to jump into the Void series. It's tempting, and I hope I haven't spoiled too much by reading this first.
Christian Loldrup For those of you who have already read The Void Trilogy Tor Books have issued a reread blog here http://torbooks.co.uk/2014/07/14/void.... Just search for "The Void Trilogy Reread".
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by Peter F. Hamilton (Goodreads Author)
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