This is a sci-fi trilogy by a British astronomer who is now a full-time writer. They originally caught my eye with their simple, yet intriguing titles as well as cover art. I quickly fell in love with the books. Reynolds' writing style is unique. Each story takes place from several viewpoints, not just a few main characters'. The books are written in short sections from each viewpoint, with some piece of dialogue or information at the end that makes you so sad to be leaving that character, craving to know what's about to happen. The books are fast-paced with never a dull moment in them. There is no mild lull between the hook and the climax. Most books calm down for a bit before dragging you up to the top, but these don't. It's full speed all the way.

The technologies in these books are intense and amazing. There are the sci-fi standards: lasers, guns that fire other sub-atomic particles (such as bosons), spaceships, antimatter, etc. Reynolds throws in a few pieces of gold, though. I won't give all of it away, because it's so exciting to read about it, but there are some weapons that completely ignore the laws of physics by manipulating matter and energy on and below the quantum scale. One tiny taste of that are mines that simply cause matter to be. Everything we know says matter cannot be destroyed or created, but this is what occurs.

It's interesting that even though he does such intense fiddling with quantum reality, he holds fast to the convention that the speed of light is neither obtainable nor surpassable by things that are not light. While he's bringing in such controversial matters as string theory and brane cosmology, he maintains Einstein's assertion.

The story in these books is epic, with a group of intergalactic machines doing their absolute best to utterly annihilate mankind. If only we'd stuck to our one planet, we'd be ok. The reason for this is such a huge part of the story I won't go into more detail here. Humanity must piece together why they're doing this and more importantly, how to stop it from happening. They must rely on technologies gleaned from quantum computers in people's heads speaking from the future, artifacts left from wars centuries past, and clues left by races that have been extinct for millennia.

My only beef with the trilogy is that Reynolds' never lets up on the whole keeping you blazing along. Even at the very end, while he does tie up most of the main questions, he throws one more little wrench in. While occasionally it's just fine to give the readers something new to speculate about at the end of the book, it doesn't work here. There's no rest for the weary, and it is badly needed. This is definitely one time it should have been tied up neatly and sweetly and left that way, because the entire trilogy keeps you guessing.

Still, I would highly recommend these books. Just keep in mind that it may exhaust you. They were astoundingly amazing right up until the very end.

Reviewed by: Cap'n Commie