Saints Of Salvation (The Salvation Sequence Trilogy book 3) by Peter F Hamilton (book review).

November 6, 2020 | By | Reply More

‘Saints Of Salvation’ by Peter F Hamilton is the third novel in his ‘Salvation Sequence Trilogy’ of grand scale space opera.

This picks up from the second novel ‘Salvation Lost’ on both story threads, the near future strand at the start of the twenty-third century and the far future that we discover during the course of the novel to be 10,000 years later.

The near future is two years on from when the shields went up to protect the cities from the Olyix. Inside them, the aliens disguised as humans are sabotaging the human defences. Outside, their energy bombardment is relentless to try to break through the shields to harvest humans to cocoon and transport them in their arkship to their ‘God at the End of Time’. Resources are scarce and everyone is making the best of it.

Ollie remains in London, hiding from the authorities who want to arrest him for helping the Olyix invasion. He wants revenge on the real perpetrator, Nikolaj, and to find a way to de-cocoon his grandmother and half-brother.

The Saints, Alik, Callum, Jessica, Kandara and Yuri, are practising to fly the Avenging Heretic, a mid-level Olyix transport ship. They aim to stealthily board the arkship during a fierce battle and fly with them to the Olyix’s enclave. They will then broadcast the secret enclave position to humanity who will then gather at their nearest neutron stars, with the aim of preparing to attack it and rescue the cocooned humans and other alien species.

The human-colonised worlds help Earth as much as they dare by sending in the necessary energy to keep their shields up, preparing for the upcoming battle on Earth and building the exodus habitats. These last are to go into permanent hiding or to secretly develop the ability to fight the Olyix much better in readiness for receiving the Saints’ signal.

In the far future, after the failure of the Vayan lure to find the enclave, Yirella cures Dellian of an Olyix implanted neurovirus. They realise during this their enemy has shot the Avenging Heretic and killed the Saints, who represented hope to the survivors.

Nevertheless, they decide to try again with a modified lure plan. Except Yirella remains unconvinced this new plan will work, so secretly adds another modification, with what I can only term some interestingly spectacular results.

These two threads converge into a final stupendous battle. It is worth reading this grand space opera novel just for the well thought-out strategy and well-written description.

‘Saints Of Salvation’ has some nice touches of detail, such as cruisers’ carbotitanium fuselages being wrapped in ‘a five-metre-deep cloak of nitrogen, locked into a density gradient by bonding generators’ or Dellian staring out of a habitat’s endcap at a starfield ‘where each point of light is a steady burn, not the sparkle he was used to from a planet’s atmospheric distortion’.

There are occasional moments where Hamilton’s sense of humour creeps through. One example is when Alik says, “…one think tank even drafted some science fiction writers in to give a fresh perspective.

The near future is littered with familiar space opera phrases such as ‘When you’ve eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth,’ that are appropriately missing from the far future. This is a nice literary trick, though, because these phrases are so apt in their places but I am not sure if Hamilton deliberately did this or it just came out naturally as a result of the story.

There are many more nice touches throughout the novel. When you add the different protagonists, cultures and scenes, you have an immense very varied novel. It is not surprising it contains so little backstory from the first two novels and a reader would benefit from reading the first two novels before ‘Saints Of Salvation’.

While the main story arc of the Salvation trilogy comes to a satisfactory conclusion, there are enough interesting loose ends to make for at least one more Hamiltonian-sized novel in this universe. In this sense, the novel does not give the satisfaction of full closure.

At one point in the novel Alik says, “… Every stage of this trip we’re seeing something more impossible than the last. …” Replace trip with novel and you have ‘Saints Of Salvation’ in summary.

Rosie Oliver

November 2020

(pub: Macmillan, 2020. 518 page hardback. Price: £20.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-5098-4463-0)

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Category: Books, Scifi

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