Pandora's Star : Commonwealth Saga

  • by Peter F. Hamilton
  • Narrated by John Lee
  • Series: Commonwealth Saga
  • 37 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Britain's bestselling SF writer returns to outer space.
In AD 2329, humanity has colonised over four hundred planets, all of them interlinked by wormholes. With Earth at its centre, the Intersolar Commonwealth now occupies a sphere of space approximately four hundred light years across.
When an astronomer on the outermost world of Gralmond, observes a star 2000 light years distant - and then a neighbouring one - vanish, it is time for the Commonwealth to discover what happened to them. For what if their disappearance indicates some kind of galactic conflict? Since a conventional wormhole cannot be used to reach these vanished stars, for the first time humans need to build a faster-than-light star ship, the Second Chance. But it arrives to find each 'vanished' star encased in a giant force field -- and within one of them resides a massive alien civilisation.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Very solid and enjoyable space opera

I enjoyed this book (which is part 1 of a 2 part story - see Judas Unchained for aprt 2) which takes place in the Commonwealth - a version of human kinds future where the stars are within reach via wormholes and you can, mostly, if you're reasonably careful, live forever!

The story is about the discovery of a couple of stars which dissapear, the investigation as to what happened and the subsequent consequences. Hard to write this review without spoliers so I shall skip the detail of the plot and just say it is quite complex and there is a lot of detail but never so much that you end up confused as to who is doing what and why - a triumph in books this large in both size and scope.

The characters are well described and Hamilton spendsa a lot of the time in the book detailing people and places in a infinite detail. There were time's I really thought the book could have been 2/3 of the length but after reading Judas Unchained afterwards I was impressed how pretty much everything came together with good solid reasons for the details in the first (and also the second) book.

I really liked the Commonwealth and the tech and the concept of people living for >200 years allowing them to have several marriages and so on, with the ability to block out bits of the past. I also enjoyed what was discovered at Pandora's Star and felt that how this was described and built up was really very good.

It's a long book, but the pay off is worth it in my opinion. This was my first Hamilton book and I look forward to reading the others.

I see some criticism of the narrator, and it did take me a few chapters to get used to him, but his speech was clear and personally I did not find it a problem. After listening to tyhe sequel as well it's a good job too - must be 50+ hours!

In summary, a great space opera, long and detailed but with some nice ideas. Moderately hard core sci-fi which is easy to read yet epic is scale and scope.
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- Stephen

The good just about outweighs the bad

I read this in print some time ago but when I recently listened to it on audio it seems to have lost some of its magic. What struck me most this time was Hamilton's long-winded explorations of trivia and his excruciating fixation on teenage girls. Almost every female character has a body age of under 19 and Hamilton describes them in detail, normally starting with the breasts. It's a wonder he can write so many books using only one hand.

That aside I do still like the universe he creates and the way he integrates believable future tech into the story. As a creator of believable far-future worlds he's one of the best.

And the narration? No. Just, no. John Lee would make a great newsreader but for a story like this, not a chance. He sounds like a cross between Rising Damp's Rigsby and the host at a spelling bee. He pronounces every syllable with such clarity you can almost hear him winding up before each word, the individual sounds clattering off his tongue like the noise of malfunctioning farm machinery. If he could do this whilst retaining the emotive content directed by the text then maybe I could live with it, but he can't, and I can't.
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- Si

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-09-2010
  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd.