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Born in a colony world in 2310, Lawrence Newton hankered after the golden era of starships exploring the galaxy. But the age of human starflight was drawing to a close, so this hot-heated teenager ran away from home in search of adventure.
Twenty years later, he's the sergeant of a washed-out platoon taking part in the bungled invasion of another world. The giant corporations euphemistically call such campaigns 'asset realization', but in practice it's simple piracy. While he's on the ground, being shot at and firebombed by local resistance forces, Lawrence hears stories about the Temple of the Fallen Dragon -- and a sect devoted to the worship of a mythical creature that fell to the ground millennia ago. More importantly, its priests are said to guard a hoard of treasure large enough to buy lifelong happiness -- which information prompts him to mount a private-enterprise operation of his own.
For Lawrence, such wealth would allow him one last chance to put right the mistakes of his past -- and finally go home. But, unfortunately, treasure isn't always measured in monetary terms. And just because something is called mythical doesn't mean it isn't real ...
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The acclaimed Peter Hamilton's standalone SF adventure Fallen Dragon sees him taking a breather after the immense, galaxy-spanning Night's Dawn trilogy, with a tauter story of future skirmishing in a mere few solar systems.
Centuries hence, despite faster-than-light travel, human interstellar exploration is stagnating. There's not enough money in it for the vast controlling companies such as Zantiu-Braun, now reduced to extracting profits via "asset realisation"--plundering established colonies that can't withstand Earth's superior weapons tech.
Lawrence Newton's childhood dreams were all about space exploration. Now he's just another Z-B squaddie, trained to use the feared, half-alive "Skin" combat biosuits, which offer super-muscles, armour and massive firepower, all queasily hooked into the wearer's bloodstream and nervous system. Commanding a platoon in Z-B's raid on planet Thallspring, Lawrence has secret plans to make off with a rumoured alien treasure.
But Thallspring resistance is unexpectedly tough, thanks to locals such as Denise Ebourn who have mysterious access to neuro-electronic subversion gear far subtler and perhaps more dangerous than Skin. Meanwhile, how fictional are the stories Denise tells her school pupils, about a fabled Empire that ruled our galaxy for a million years before becoming... something else?
Hamilton excels at violent action, but not with the dreadful simplicity of space opera. Despite his role in the explosive Thallspring situation, Lawrence genuinely hopes to avoid bloodshed--while Denise's lofty idealism results in chilling atrocities, and even Z-B may be less cruel and monolithic than it seems.
A breakneck interstellar chase leads to a satisfying finale and an unexpected romantic twist. This is solid, meaty SF entertainment. --David LangfordReview:
Absolutely vintage science fiction. Hamilton puts British sci-fi back into interstellar overdrive (The Times)
One of Hamilton's best . . . the book is undeniably a page-turner and should provide many absorbing hours for the author's existing readers as well as a salutary introduction to a major SF author for a new audience (Publishers Weekly)
A complex and gripping story, totally independent from his former work . . . For Hamilton fans this is a must-read. If you haven't read any Hamilton before, this is a good place to start (SFBook.com)
Easily his most personally affecting and cleverly written. Fallen Dragon is a love letter to star flight that recognizes the potential for humans to make a mess of anything, sincerely hoping that we won't (www.themittani.com)
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Book Description Pan MacMillan, 2001. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # T1-2043f
Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # E-0333900650
Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # M-0333900650