This was quite enjoyable, and another book in the "I liked it but didn't love it" file. Revelation Space is a sprawling trip through time (in only one direction) through a universe filled with unknown and unknowable aliens, human factions, and a dead world, killed aeons ago by a solar flare that might or might not have been related to the spacefaring contingent of that world - according to the main character, Dan Sylveste, at least. No one else believes him.
though, confused the heck out of me at the start of a book, as a chapter
would start with a date, follow one of the three major groups for a
while, then mid-chapter switch to another group, to events that could
not be happening at the same time as the chapter heading. Eventually I
decided to just absolutely ignore the stated dates, and then I found the
entire story made sense.
On Resurgam, Dan Sylveste continues to
investigate an archaeological dig related to the Amarantin, who Dan
believes to have achieved spaceflight before their world died (or was
killed?), with reckless disregard to life and limb. At least until a
coup overthrows him (and I was never entirely sure why this
archaeologist who had no apparent interest in politics was in charge of
the colony anyway), and he is imprisoned for years, with only a
simulation of his father and an intrepid reporter writing his lifestory
On a lighthugger ship, a crew of "Ultras" - humans
who have embraced technological modification - is looking for Dan
Sylveste, as their Captain has succumbed to a technological plague, and
Dan managed to cure him once before.
But to get to Resurgam,
they need to flesh out their crew, as one member had recently gone
insane, babbling about a "Sun Stealer," and to do so take on board,
unwittingly, an infiltrator - Khouri, ex-soldier, whose husband is being
held captive by the enigmatic Mademoiselle. Mademoiselle has one job
for Khouri - to kill Dan Sylveste.
The story moves along nicely,
the details are extremely interesting, but the author did occasionally
fall prey to a trick I hate - having characters discover important
information, and react to how important it is, but withholding it from
the readers. It's false drama.
But the revelations in Revelation
Space, when they come, are satisfying, speculating on one answer to
Fermi's Paradox - namely, where the hell is everyone?
probably read more Alastair Reynolds if it crosses my path, but it
wasn't quite good enough for me to run out and hunt down some more.