Review of 'The Neutronium Alchemist'

The Neutronium Alchemist by Peter F. Hamilton
Book 2 of the Night's Dawn Trilogy series

It really kicks off here in the 2nd part of the Night's Dawn Trilogy, picking up from where The Reality Dysfunction left off.

The confederation is quickly succumbing to the plague of the possessed (those whose bodies are taken over by souls that have died) with the populations of planet after planet converted then the planet itself removed from the universe. Into this maelstrom we see Al Capone (yes, really) take over a body and start to organize what is initially simply an unorganized plague to a even more devastating effect. But it is with this that his Organization (literally) comes into conflict with Light Bringer sect leader, Quinn Dexter. Of course, the rest of the confederation are not all that pleased either and attempts to halt the advance with the imposition of a ban on all interstellar travel. The possessed have tricks up their sleeve as well when they release a video that attracts young people to join their cause…to a predictable end.

We also see another side of the possessed - Some possessors that are not keen on converting everyone they meet. It is to a young woman fleeing from her possessed planet that we are introduced to the reincarnation of Fletcher Cristian (yes, really, THAT Fletcher Cristian - of “Mutiny on the Bounty” fame) who is quite opposite to the image of the demons that drive the cancer across the galaxy.

Certain groups think that it with the use of the incredibly destructive “Neutronium Alchemist” – A device that can destroy stars – They can halt the possessed. There is only one person who knows where it is and how to operate it - Dr Alkad Mzu. The race is on to find Mzu and trigger the Alchemist. Joshua Calvert with the Lady MacBeth is determined to be the one…

The complexity of the story really ramps up in this second chapter of Night's Dawn with the cast of characters literally in the hundreds. Often it is hard to remember what is going on but at least hanging onto the main threads is important as these threads weave in and out of one another.

The characters here are believable with their own agendas and very human failings. Things are not simply black or white;right or wrong. It is this that keeps the reader reading.

Despite it's massive volume (at more than 1200 pages) The Neutronium Alchemist does go by quickly and is a must read for those that have read the first volume.

Rating:

Review Date: 2013-10-04


Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Pan

Publication Date: 1997


Other reviewed books by Peter F. Hamilton: