Fallen Dragon is a novel by Peter F Hamilton set two or three centuries in the future when humankind is coming to the end of its extra-solar colonisation drive. The big companies who invested in colonising new planets have found there's no return unless they basically send troops in and raid them, taking their assets by force. Against this background we follow the life of Lawrence Newton, a kid who wants to explore the stars, but ends up working for the companies. On one of many missions he comes across a community that seems to have a hidden source of wealth and the novel charts his attempt to steal this from them and make his own fortune.

Anyone who has read Hamilton's The Night's Dawn Trilogy will instantly recognise the style and enjoy the pace of this book. It reminded me very much of the Norton Ridge Liberation subplot with it's descriptions of highly technologically equipped troops going into battle. In fact overall, Fallen Dragon could easily have been entwined within the Night's Dawn universe.

Unfortunately there is a gripe coming up. This paragraph may well spoil the book for you, so please don't bother if you have yet to read it. The problem is that Hamilton once again goes for a weak ending. Like the deus ex machina ending of Night's Dawn, he leads you into a great plot and has you thinking of all sorts of ways to wrap it up, but instead he gives you a cheap and easy way out. In this case he goes for time travel, but not only that, he makes the character that goes back through time crucial to the beginning of the story, introducing a huge paradox that just left me feeling short changed.

I would recommend this book for the first 790 pages, but then suggest the astute reader leaves it on a train or something. I'm still going to buy his next novel when it hits the shelves, though.

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