Elysium Fire

Elysium Fire

A brilliant new space opera from "leading light" (LA Review of Books) Alastair Reynolds.Ten thousand city-state habitats orbit the planet Yellowstone, forming a near-perfect democratic human paradise. But even utopia needs a police force. For the citizens of the Glitter Band that organization is Panoply, and the prefects are its operatives.Prefect Tom Dreyfus has a new eme...

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Title:Elysium Fire
Author:Alastair Reynolds
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Elysium Fire Reviews

  • Claudia

    Eagerly awaited this one, because I run out of Al Reynolds’ novels. As I expected, it was a blast. If you loved

    (or

    , its new name), you’ll love this one too.

    Although it can be read as a standalone, as it's a new twisted case involving Prefect Dreyfus & his team, you’ll miss some key details regarding the characters from previous part. Therefore, my advice is to read them in order, for a full understanding of the big picture.

    The plot is masterfully woven, bits and pi

    Eagerly awaited this one, because I run out of Al Reynolds’ novels. As I expected, it was a blast. If you loved

    (or

    , its new name), you’ll love this one too.

    Although it can be read as a standalone, as it's a new twisted case involving Prefect Dreyfus & his team, you’ll miss some key details regarding the characters from previous part. Therefore, my advice is to read them in order, for a full understanding of the big picture.

    The plot is masterfully woven, bits and pieces coming together in a perfect ending. Not everything is black and white, some threads are being left unanswered (AR’ unmistakable signature), feature which I love, because days after, those parts are still lingering in my head, making me think further. I easily see a third volume in the future, as Aurora has a lot of unfinished business. And if I’m not mistaken, some other characters too.

    I wasn’t sure until the end that I would go for five stars, despite the enjoyment it brought - because only one event took me by surprise

    - after that the rest I could foresee. But having read all his novels, maybe now I get to see more easily the pattern, I guess. However, after I finished it and ruminated upon, I concluded that the novel undoubtedly deserves all five stars: it is perfectly constructed, has a flawless plot, all of it one great and tough puzzle coming toward full completion. Not to mention that is a really page turner - as always, AR knows how to glue his readers' eyes to the book.

    So, there you have it, full recommendation from my part. Now I’m back to waiting for the next one…

  • Bradley

    Alastair Reynolds returns to the Revelation Space universe with the strongest novel *IMHO* since The Prefect. Of course, this is a direct follow-up to The Prefect.

    Look, I know that's kinda a toss out statement, but it's still true. I loved The Prefect because it went wild with tech and even wilder political imagination, glorifying the Glitter Band before it became the Rust Belt. And of course, it was a really awesome mystery that went all out to become a nightmare destroying so much of the beaut

    Alastair Reynolds returns to the Revelation Space universe with the strongest novel *IMHO* since The Prefect. Of course, this is a direct follow-up to The Prefect.

    Look, I know that's kinda a toss out statement, but it's still true. I loved The Prefect because it went wild with tech and even wilder political imagination, glorifying the Glitter Band before it became the Rust Belt. And of course, it was a really awesome mystery that went all out to become a nightmare destroying so much of the beautiful orbiting habitats around Yellowstone. That last book was a near-utopia under siege by a dead girl who had gotten really good with neural architecture and cloud-based systems. It was damn delicious and imaginative and detailed as hell. And the characters were pretty hardcore awesome, too.

    Fast forward to an even more accomplished Reynolds with even better characterization, more fluid prose, and dialogue. Add the lingering effects of failed confidence in the Prefects from the previous events, talk of secession by demagogs, and a pretty awesome string of high-tech murders that can be directly linked to the events of other RS novels, and we've got an increasingly harrowing mystery on a shoestring budget even if the high tech gadgets are way beyond anything we've got.

    I mean, just look at this tiny list: Beta-level intelligence simulations allowing the dead to keep on living, quick-matter constructs that can become anything just so long as the right price is paid, personal weapons that act like Swiss Army Knives of AI snakes, and a subset of humans who just don't give a crap about what they want to upgrade themselves with.

    The mystery is almost the only thing that's normal, and we're dealing with cooked brains and a list of the dead reaching the thousands and it's all being used as political gain.

    Really fun novel. Really Hard-SF.

    But you know what I love most about this? Reynolds is connecting ALL the Revelation Space novels together even tighter in this one. I'm picking up future events in Chasm City, regular and awesome characters from Reynold's short fiction and the events after everything goes to hell following the Melding Plague and the alien menace, and of course, there's Aurora. I love, love, love Aurora. She's been a mainstay of godlike intelligence in the series and what a personality. :)

    A word to the wise: I probably should have re-read The Prefect before picking this up, but it really wasn't that bad. This book was pretty brilliant without needing to revisit the other. BUT I was reminded just how brilliant the other was, too. :)

    Another thing: Most of his standalone novels are just that... even if the connections and the timelines are there. The stories are readable in any order you wish. Even this one.

    And that being said, Bravo! This really was a fantastic new Reynolds! Easily one of my favorites.

    Thanks to Netgalley for this ARC!

  • Paromjit

    This is my first read of an Alastair Reynold novel, and this is the second in the Prefect Tom Dreyfus series. I adored the detailed and imaginative world building of The Glitter Band, with the Panoply running the policing element, the prefects, and overseen primarily by 'Lady' Jane Aumonier. It appears to be the perfect democracy, where decision-making is achieved through everyone voting in polls via their neural implants. However, there is trouble in paradise, with several parts of The Glitter

    This is my first read of an Alastair Reynold novel, and this is the second in the Prefect Tom Dreyfus series. I adored the detailed and imaginative world building of The Glitter Band, with the Panoply running the policing element, the prefects, and overseen primarily by 'Lady' Jane Aumonier. It appears to be the perfect democracy, where decision-making is achieved through everyone voting in polls via their neural implants. However, there is trouble in paradise, with several parts of The Glitter Band opting for independence by leaving, an insurrection led by the demagogue, Devon Garlin, a man with an uncanny sense of knowing what will happen and is targeting Dreyfus with the intent of goading him to overeact. Thalia Ng is promoted to Field Prefect after Sparver informs her of the rising number of disturbing deaths, where neural implants malfunction with a thermal overload and destruction of brain tissue. So far this has been kept secret to ensure people do not panic, but the threat risks instability in the entire region.

    The Prefects try to find connections amidst the victims, but struggle to find any significant leads other than the possibility that they appear to be risk takers. At Shell House, Aliya and Marlon Voi bring up their non identical twin sons, Julius and Cabel. The boys are taught to use extraordinary powers that give them the ability to challenge democracy. However, the boys have dreams that question who they are and hint at horrors from the past. In the meantime, Garlin's machinations raise the stakes as his popularity soars, meaning others are on the brink of choosing to become independent. Garlin's true identity is revealed, and it seems the multiple and disparate threads are all connected, as the looming danger to the Glitter Band and the Prefects becomes transparent. Will they manage to survive and save the lives of thousands?

    Reynolds spins a rattling sci-fi yarn that is compelling, fast paced, full of tension and suspense. This is a story of illicit syndicates, reprehensible wagers, and revenge. I was particularly impressed with the technologies in the tale such as the painflower, the whiphounds, and the community of the dead at the beta-level. The characters are complex and well developed, sustaining my interest throughout.I probably would have benefited from reading the first book, nevertheless I enjoyed reading this enormously. Many thanks to Orion for an ARC.

  • Jason

    5 Stars

    Alastair Reynolds is my very favorite authors and Elysium Fire is the sequel to one of my all time favorite science fiction novels. Well let me sum this one by saying I was surprised at just how much I loved this book. It plays to all my favorite things...high tech, cool mystery, strong lead detective, hard science, great world building, gadgets, monsters, and gobbley goo like magic. This book has it all.

    If you read the first book then this is a book that should not be missed. If you hav

    5 Stars

    Alastair Reynolds is my very favorite authors and Elysium Fire is the sequel to one of my all time favorite science fiction novels. Well let me sum this one by saying I was surprised at just how much I loved this book. It plays to all my favorite things...high tech, cool mystery, strong lead detective, hard science, great world building, gadgets, monsters, and gobbley goo like magic. This book has it all.

    If you read the first book then this is a book that should not be missed. If you haven't read Alastair Reynolds, well, you have really been missing out.

    Amazing and fun read which happens to be a sequel...

  • Chris

    *copy from Netglly in exchange for a review*

    Elysium Fire is the second in Alastair Reynold’s ‘Prefect Dreyfus’ sequence – itself part of his ‘Revelation Space’ universe. It’s been ten years since the first of the sequence introduced us to Dreyfus, in a stellar blend of sci-fi and noir, so I was quite excited to see where this sequel took us.

    Where it takes us first of all, is the Glitter Band, an orbital ring of high-tech habitats orbiting the planet Yellowstone. The Glitter Band is perhaps human

    *copy from Netglly in exchange for a review*

    Elysium Fire is the second in Alastair Reynold’s ‘Prefect Dreyfus’ sequence – itself part of his ‘Revelation Space’ universe. It’s been ten years since the first of the sequence introduced us to Dreyfus, in a stellar blend of sci-fi and noir, so I was quite excited to see where this sequel took us.

    Where it takes us first of all, is the Glitter Band, an orbital ring of high-tech habitats orbiting the planet Yellowstone. The Glitter Band is perhaps humanity’s finest achievement. It’s effectively a post-scarcity economy, with no starving masses yearning to be free. In part, this is because of its unique political system. Each citizen of the Band is able to vote on issues in real time, using neural implants. It’s a society that is run, basically, by the people within it. Each habitat in the Band is able to set up its own society, and its own rules. Some of these societies are downright odd – like the habitats where everyone is perpetually wired into virtual reality with their body on ice, or where all the citizens have entered a voluntary coma. Others are considerably more toxic – “voluntary tyrannies” for example.

    But the one core right of the Glitter Band is the vote. No matter your society, you can vote. It’s at the core of the Band’s social structure. When there are irregularities in the voting, that’s when the Prefects are called in. They’re what passes for law enforcement in a world which has largely eschewed crime. Negotiators, a quick reaction force, investigators, analysts – the Prefects do it all, with limited resources. Following the events of the previous book, which involved considerable loss of life and property damage, they find their institution eyed with increasing scepticism by the citizenry. There’s an antiauthoritarian trend here, and sparks of demagoguery and secession movements are starting to fly. The Band is a delicate structure, always dancing on a tightrope between the needs of the citizenry, the increasingly constrained and beleaguered authority of the Prefects, and the risk of catastrophic incidents in a world which is incredibly tightly coupled. It’s an entirely plausible, complicated, sharply realised society, one which showcases its complexity and provides a living, breathing world for the characters to work within.

    Speaking of characters. Inspector Dreyfus, unsurprisingly, returns for this book. The duty-bound inspector was always a joy to read. He has a clear affection for the high-tech utopia around him, and an awareness of its vulnerabilities. That’s matched with a similar incisiveness into both his own condition and those of his subordinates and suspects. Dreyfus is, of course, troubled – still carrying the physical and mental scars from the previous emergency, and from decisions he took decades earlier. Here is a man with the capacity to cut through the wood of false trails one so sharp he might actually cut himself.It’s nice to see that he’s as gruff with his team as ever, a layer sat over a deeper affection.

    Dreyfus is backed by Sparver and Ng, the duo who served as his team in the previous book. Sparver is perhaps the more emotional, the one more prone to action over analysis. Where Dreyfus navigates through the wood to find the trees, Sparver is probably off somewhere arranging for a chainsaw delivery. Ng is the more technical, quieter, less authoritative, at least within the team. Like Sparver, she’s insightful, and a wizard with technology – but more prone to analysis, and less prone to reach for a weapon. Between them, the hyper-pig and the tech make a great backup for Dreyfus, a man in whom they’re prepared to invest their trust. Together, they make a compelling triad – laced with flaws, as all families are, but with an emotional depth that resonates off the page.

    They’re surrounded by a cast of other characters of course, from the terrifyingly intelligent Jane Aumonier, head of the Prefects, for whom Dreyfus is an excellent button-man, and the more martial Prefects trying to run the organisation, to stern faced, damaged orbital construction workers, and open-faced, virulently persuasive demagogues. It’s a pleasure to seem some familiar faces in the background, their faces and views tracking from the previous book. This new emergency carries new heroes and villains of course, though the cunningly crafted narrative often left me wondering which was which.

    From a plot standpoint – well, this is a mystery novel, so no spoilers. There are mysterious deaths occurring throughout the Glitter Band, and their pace appears to be escalating. Dreyfus and his team have to track down the cause, before even more people die. There’s a lot to love in the plot – the investigation is snappily paced, slowing down to give you a view on Dreyfus’s thoughts, and the reactions of those around him, letting you draw your conclusions alongside the Prefects; but it’s quite happy to ramp up for some vividly drawn and snappily paced action scenes, which wrap around the emotional core of the story and keep the stakes high and the adrenaline going. This is a story willing to look at social change and consequences in the micro and macro levels, to explore the ways that new technologies would impact people – but also wants to show you that the participants are, at heart, people. The central mystery is thoughtfully crafted and left me scratching my head trying to work it out as I went along; the world, as always with Reynolds, is beautifully drawn, and the characters seem to stroll off the page, bringing wry remarks and the streets of the Glitter Band with them.

    If you’re new to Reyonold’s work, I’d say go back and start with the first in this series (“The Prefect”/”Aurora Rising”) – there’s some back story which it’s worth knowing before you take the plunge here. But as a returning reader, Reynolds has brough back Dreyfus and the Glitter Band in high style; if you’re looking for a cracking sci-fi mystery, pick this one up.

  • William

    If it's been more than a year since you've read

    (2007), you might enjoy reading it again before starting this one. It's not an absolute requirement, but it would make Elysium Fire more enjoyable.

    I very much enjoyed this return to the Glitter Band, before the melding plague turns it into The Rust Belt. Tom Dreyfus is much as he was before, a bit more worn, a bit more careful. Sparver and Ng and Aumonier and others reappear, and have grown as well.

    The plot starts out at a great pace, w

    If it's been more than a year since you've read

    (2007), you might enjoy reading it again before starting this one. It's not an absolute requirement, but it would make Elysium Fire more enjoyable.

    I very much enjoyed this return to the Glitter Band, before the melding plague turns it into The Rust Belt. Tom Dreyfus is much as he was before, a bit more worn, a bit more careful. Sparver and Ng and Aumonier and others reappear, and have grown as well.

    The plot starts out at a great pace, with two interwoven story threads: The current emergency, and a tale of two teens from 30 years or so before the current action. Perhaps you might think you have solved the central mystery at some point in the book (but you haven't), and the pieces of the puzzle are presented well in succession, gradually building a picture of the crime and it's origins.

    By 3/4 of the way through the book, you realise that the ending is going to be more complex in it's origins than you might have first thought. The ending itself is a bit flat, a bit rushed, with an info-dump a la Agatha Christie summations - not my favourite way to come to a solution in a mystery.

    As always, Reynolds' prose and plotting are good, his technology is wonderful, and the characters are interesting and sympathetic.

    This is a grand addition to the Revelation Space we all love from Reynolds. 4.5-stars, minus 0.5 for the somewhat flat ending.

    Notes and quotes:

    A tale of hereditary power, of arrogance in the face of the inevitability of human flaws, of the hubris of kings, of the futile denial of entropy itself.

    Thank you, NetGalley, for this ARC.

    .

  • A Bald Mage** Steve

    ARC from Orion publishing Group for an honest review, so a massive thank you!

    ‘As you say – I’m a godlike intelligence. The only thing that concerns me is other Godlike intelligences’

    This was a pleasant experience; it was a nice read considering it was a second book of a series, also this was my first ever Alastair Reynolds novel so I was keen to get started.

    The first thing I picked up on quickly with the story was the fact it nearly mirrored todays political stance, with Britain pulli

    ARC from Orion publishing Group for an honest review, so a massive thank you!

    ‘As you say – I’m a godlike intelligence. The only thing that concerns me is other Godlike intelligences’

    This was a pleasant experience; it was a nice read considering it was a second book of a series, also this was my first ever Alastair Reynolds novel so I was keen to get started.

    The first thing I picked up on quickly with the story was the fact it nearly mirrored todays political stance, with Britain pulling out of the European Union. I don’t like to bring politics into my reviews but unfortunately I couldn’t help but spot it with dialogue such as;

    ‘Instability in the Glitter Band affects all of us, Supreme Prefect. Our trading arrangements go back a century and a half. Can you imagine how concerned we are, with the orbital community threatening to tear itself apart?’

    Full Review on the Two Bald Mages Blog: Happy Reading :)

  • Mark

    This one’s an unexpected surprise. Back in 2007 I reviewed

    (now renamed

    with the hope that I would read more from the same setting. Over ten years later we return to the worlds of the Glitter Band, patrolled by the Panoply police force. It’s a magnificent humdinger of a sequel.

    For many readers the good news is that these novels fit into Alastair’s grand scheme of

    , a Future History of rise and fall, ambition and decay, in the finest traditions of Iain M

    This one’s an unexpected surprise. Back in 2007 I reviewed

    (now renamed

    with the hope that I would read more from the same setting. Over ten years later we return to the worlds of the Glitter Band, patrolled by the Panoply police force. It’s a magnificent humdinger of a sequel.

    For many readers the good news is that these novels fit into Alastair’s grand scheme of

    , a Future History of rise and fall, ambition and decay, in the finest traditions of Iain M Banks’

    or even Isaac Asimov’s

    series. In Alastair’s setting, these novels are prequels, happening before the events that are in his novels like

    . The Melding Plague catastrophe that will befall the thousands of orbital habitats grouped together as The Glitter Band has not yet happened, although there are intriguing little snippets throughout these books that things are not going to end well.

    In

    it is now two years after the Aurora Event (told in

    The characters we met in the first book return, older and wiser and still defending law and order when needs be. Deputy Tom Dreyfus is back as a Chief Prefect (detective), his boss, Supreme Prefect Jane Aumonier, and Dreyfus’s fellow officers to whom he is a mentor, Thalia Ng & a genetically enhanced ‘hyper pig’ Sparver Bancal.

    begins with a series of sudden deaths amongst the Glitter Band citizens. There seems to be no pattern and no motive. None of the victims seem to be connected and they are all from different walks of life and different habitats. Dreyfus and his team are brought into this situation when Thalia is asked to retrieve one of the victim’s bodies. Dreyfus is told that this is not the first and there has been nearly fifty deaths so far. Worryingly, the incidents, referred to as “Wildfire”, are on the increase, with the time between each death shortening. Panoply has to try and determine cause and motive before the problem spreads across the Glitter Band and also stop it happening further.

    As you can see, things have moved on since

    , and not entirely for the better. The ‘Aurora Event’, and the way it was handled by Panoply, has led to a growing unease between the citizens and the law enforcement agency. We are seeing unrest across the Band, which Dreyfus and his team struggle to maintain control over. One of the most outspoken critics of Panoply is Devon Garlin, an evangelistic orator whose path keeps crossing with Dreyfus as he travels to different habitats. Dreyfus is convinced that Devon has something to do with Wildfire but cannot pin him down to anything specific.

    Much of the novel is about this but there are subplots. One is about two twins, Caleb and Julius, whose mysterious upbringing has implications for the old families of the Band and will no doubt be connected to future events. We also have the return of Aurora, whose involvement in events is never simple.

    This is being touted as a stand-alone novel. I am sure that it can be, but I appreciated re-reading

    first. (In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I did something I rarely do these days and read two books in a series back-to-back.)  This rereading showed me that with

    how much Alastair has grown as a writer in the last decade. The characters here have grown in depth and complexity since

    , and consequently our need to ‘see them right’ has grown with it. They are more fleshed out, more conflicted…. more human. As before, the setting is a wonderful conceit, all the more so when long-time readers know that eventually things will not be what they are here.

    hits the ground running and slowly and cleverly connects what seem to be disparate aspects of the novel. By the end the issues of the book resolve themselves and set things up nicely for future stories.

    When I reviewed

    I did say I would hope that there would be more in this series.

    shows that it was right to return to this universe and that there is potential for more stories in

    . I hope that it’ll not be ten years.

  • Karl

    This hardcover is the first British edition.

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