Second book in the Night's Dawn trilogy by Peter F Hamilton.

Various plot lines following on from the first book. Traces the spread of the soul posession epedimic, and the different attempts to stem the tide by the different authority groups.

Also expands on some of the technologies in place. Pretty much a split between the people who share a sort of common telepathy/empathy through genetic engineering (afinity) and most others who use embedded nerual nanonics to control and communicate with devices.

The affinity mob live on living habitats which share the bond of affinity and also take on and effectively store the personalities of their deceased. Which adds an interesting twist to the main plotline involving returning souls of humans as parasites.

The title character for this book is a scientist who developed a weapon of incredible mass destruction who has basically been held under guard to prevent anybody else from finding out about it. Needless to say she escapes and both sides try to hunt her down.

"The Neutronium Alchemist" is the second installment in the "Night's Dawn" trilogy by science fiction author Peter F Hamilton. Part 1 is called "The Reality Dysfunction" and the final installment is "The Naked God". And to just hammer the point home right away before all this descriptive junk below, all three novels are great. Read them.

"The Neutronium Alchemist" picks up pretty much exactly where "The Reality Dysfunction" leaves off. The focus moves away from the local to the interplanetary level as the Navy, Edenists and Kulu Kingdom attempt to stop the advance of the possessed. However, as the name of the novel suggests, the central plot thread to this book is not the possessed themselves but the hunt for Doctor Alkad Mzu and her Alchemist superweapon.

There is more sign of character development in this book than there perhaps was in book one. The effects of their experiences weigh heavily on protagonist Joshua Calvert and especially Syrinx. If possible the scale of the story which Hamilton is telling actually gets larger.

We also learn a lot more about the possessed. Hamilton doesn't take the easy way out here. Not all of the possessed are evil by any means. A few of them are very sympathetic characters. The exploration of which solutions can be achieved to the problem of the possessed is interesting. All the players are forced into military action for lack of a better alternative.

Interestingly, having avoided famous dead people in book one, Hamilton now brings two historical characters into play. I was a little dubious about the use of Fletcher Christian and downright worried when I realised who "Al" was. I shouldn't have been. Hamilton handles both these characters convincingly.

The book ends on a simultaneously upbeat and worrying note with two positively huge cliffhangers for the reader to worry over. Make sure you have "The Naked God" available when you finish "The Neutronium Alchemist".

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