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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Alastair Reynolds demonstrates a rare talent: He commands all the high-tech goodies one would expect in a space opera, but he does so without resorting to excessive, complicated technobabble.
In Reynolds's superbly wrought Revelation Space, Dr. Dan Sylveste is universally known for having visited a mysterious alien construct in space known as the Shroud. He not only survived to tell about it; he was the first to return sane. Sylveste later becomes the leader of a scientific colony on the planet Resurgam, where his interest lies in studying the extinct natives, the Amarantin. The Amarantin may have instigated an "event" more than a million years before that brought about their extinction and killed the planet. Sylveste's investigation may uncover answers necessary for the Rusurgam colony's survival, but on the brink of finding solid evidence, he is captured and imprisoned during a rebellion that affects the entire colony.
Meanwhile, the city-sized, decrepit starship Nostalgia for Infinity and its crew of Ultras (technologically modified humans) are in search of Sylveste. They need his technological expertise to save their captain from a plague. Volyova, a senior officer, recruits Khouri -- a planet-side Shadowplay assassin -- to run the ship's gunnery. What Volyova doesn't know is that Khouri is only aboard the Infinity because she has been contracted to kill Sylveste.
Reynolds successfully entwines the three separate plots of Sylveste, Khouri, and Volyova into a common story that culminates with an alien construct that answers why the Amarantin are extinct and what the Shroud had to do with it. Revelation Space is an epic, ambitious novel with a creatively complex plot. Its convincing characters make it an appealing and fascinating read. (Sierra Phillips)