Peter F. Hamilton’s latest story from the Commonwealth universe takes the reader back into the Void before the events of The Dreaming Void. As with most prequels reading The Abyss Beyond Dreams doesn’t make much sense if you haven’t read the Void Trilogy. At least that’s the only explanation I could come up with for reviews like this.
This first part of the new The Chronicle of the Fallers duology fits very neatly into the pattern of the previous Void books and explains a couple of things that were left open there. It also finally tells the story of the Brant expedition that at the time of the previous stories had been missing for nearly 1000 years. Contrary to the other Void books the story here takes place inside this micro-universe nearly exclusively. As such it most of the time feels less like hard SciFi and more like an alternative history or fantasy tale. If you enjoyed these parts of the trilogy books, you will love this one! Add Nigel Sheldon into the mix and you have a wonderful book in front of you.
Just don’t expect a return to Querencia (the planet from the first three books). Instead the author presents you a new planet but with similar structures and perhaps a bit too familiar characters and habits. And this is actually the only aspect of the book I can criticise. Everything about Bienvenido feels a bit too close to what we had on Querencia with Edeard. But that’s what we have Nigel here for. He’s also the one who single-handedly keep this book in the SciFi-category.
What a great book to start a year and I can’t wait for the second story (I really hope the rumoured 2016-release-date isn’t true)!