Read elysium fire by Alastair Reynolds Online


A brilliant new space opera from "leading light" (LA Review of Books) Alastair Reynolds.Ten thousand city-state habitats orbit the planet Yellowstone, forming a near-perfect democratic human paradise. But even utopia needs a police force. For the citizens of the Glitter Band that organization is Panoply, and the prefects are its operatives.Prefect Tom Dreyfus has a new emeA brilliant new space opera from "leading light" (LA Review of Books) Alastair Reynolds.Ten thousand city-state habitats orbit the planet Yellowstone, forming a near-perfect democratic human paradise. But even utopia needs a police force. For the citizens of the Glitter Band that organization is Panoply, and the prefects are its operatives.Prefect Tom Dreyfus has a new emergency on his hands. Across the habitats and their hundred million citizens, people are dying suddenly and randomly, victims of a bizarre and unprecedented malfunction of their neural implants. And these "melters" leave no clues behind as to the cause of their deaths...As panic rises in the populace, a charismatic figure is sowing insurrection, convincing a small but growing number of habitats to break away from the Glitter Band and form their own independent colonies.For more from Alastair Reynolds, check out:Revenger...

Title : elysium fire
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ISBN : 35601772
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 488 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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elysium fire Reviews

  • A Bald Mage** Steve
    2019-06-01 21:34

    via GIPHYARC from Orion publishing Group for an honest review, so a massive thank you!‘As you say – I’m a godlike intelligence. The only thing that concerns me is other Godlike intelligences’This was a pleasant experience; it was a nice read considering it was a second book of a series, also this was my first ever Alastair Reynolds novel so I was keen to get started.The first thing I picked up on quickly with the story was the fact it nearly mirrored todays political stance, with Britain pulling out of the European Union. I don’t like to bring politics into my reviews but unfortunately I couldn’t help but spot it with dialogue such as;‘Instability in the Glitter Band affects all of us, Supreme Prefect. Our trading arrangements go back a century and a half. Can you imagine how concerned we are, with the orbital community threatening to tear itself apart?’Full Review on the Two Bald Mages Blog: Happy Reading :)

  • Paromjit
    2019-06-05 02:39

    This is my first read of an Alastair Reynold novel, and this is the second in the Prefect Tom Dreyfus series. I adored the detailed and imaginative world building of The Glitter Band, with the Panoply running the policing element, the prefects, and overseen primarily by 'Lady' Jane Aumonier. It appears to be the perfect democracy, where decision-making is achieved through everyone voting in polls via their neural implants. However, there is trouble in paradise, with several parts of The Glitter Band opting for independence by leaving, an insurrection led by the demagogue, Devon Garlin, a man with an uncanny sense of knowing what will happen and is targeting Dreyfus with the intent of goading him to overeact. Thalia Ng is promoted to Field Prefect after Sparver informs her of the rising number of disturbing deaths, where neural implants malfunction with a thermal overload and destruction of brain tissue. So far this has been kept secret to ensure people do not panic, but the threat risks instability in the entire region.The Prefects try to find connections amidst the victims, but struggle to find any significant leads other than the possibility that they appear to be risk takers. At Shell House, Aliya and Marlon Voi bring up their non identical twin sons, Julius and Cabel. The boys are taught to use extraordinary powers that give them the ability to challenge democracy. However, the boys have dreams that question who they are and hint at horrors from the past. In the meantime, Garlin's machinations raise the stakes as his popularity soars, meaning others are on the brink of choosing to become independent. Garlin's true identity is revealed, and it seems the multiple and disparate threads are all connected, as the looming danger to the Glitter Band and the Prefects becomes transparent. Will they manage to survive and save the lives of thousands?Reynolds spins a rattling sci-fi yarn that is compelling, fast paced, full of tension and suspense. This is a story of illicit syndicates, reprehensible wagers, and revenge. I was particularly impressed with the technologies in the tale such as the painflower, the whiphounds, and the community of the dead at the beta-level. The characters are complex and well developed, sustaining my interest throughout.I probably would have benefited from reading the first book, nevertheless I enjoyed reading this enormously. Many thanks to Orion for an ARC.

  • Bradley
    2019-06-05 20:23

    Alastair Reynolds returns to the Revelation Space universe with the strongest novel *IMHO* since The Prefect. Of course, this is a direct follow-up to The Prefect.Look, I know that's kinda a toss out statement, but it's still true. I loved The Prefect because it went wild with tech and even wilder political imagination, glorifying the Glitter Band before it became the Rust Belt. And of course, it was a really awesome mystery that went all out to become a nightmare destroying so much of the beautiful orbiting habitats around Yellowstone. That last book was a near-utopia under siege by a dead girl who had gotten really good with neural architecture and cloud-based systems. It was damn delicious and imaginative and detailed as hell. And the characters were pretty hardcore awesome, too.Fast forward to an even more accomplished Reynolds with even better characterization, more fluid prose, and dialogue. Add the lingering effects of failed confidence in the Prefects from the previous events, talk of secession by demagogs, and a pretty awesome string of high-tech murders that can be directly linked to the events of other RS novels, and we've got an increasingly harrowing mystery on a shoestring budget even if the high tech gadgets are way beyond anything we've got.I mean, just look at this tiny list: Beta-level intelligence simulations allowing the dead to keep on living, quick-matter constructs that can become anything just so long as the right price is paid, personal weapons that act like Swiss Army Knives of AI snakes, and a subset of humans who just don't give a crap about what they want to upgrade themselves with.The mystery is almost the only thing that's normal, and we're dealing with cooked brains and a list of the dead reaching the thousands and it's all being used as political gain.Really fun novel. Really Hard-SF.But you know what I love most about this? Reynolds is connecting ALL the Revelation Space novels together even tighter in this one. I'm picking up future events in Chasm City, regular and awesome characters from Reynold's short fiction and the events after everything goes to hell following the Melding Plague and the alien menace, and of course, there's Aurora. I love, love, love Aurora. She's been a mainstay of godlike intelligence in the series and what a personality. :)A word to the wise: I probably should have re-read The Prefect before picking this up, but it really wasn't that bad. This book was pretty brilliant without needing to revisit the other. BUT I was reminded just how brilliant the other was, too. :)Another thing: Most of his standalone novels are just that... even if the connections and the timelines are there. The stories are readable in any order you wish. Even this one. And that being said, Bravo! This really was a fantastic new Reynolds! Easily one of my favorites. Thanks to Netgalley for this ARC!

  • William
    2019-05-28 21:47

    If it's been more than a year since you've read The Prefect (2007), you might enjoy reading it again before starting this one. It's not an absolute requirement, but it would make Elysium Fire more enjoyable.I very much enjoyed this return to the Glitter Band, before the melding plague turns it into The Rust Belt. Tom Dreyfus is much as he was before, a bit more worn, a bit more careful. Sparver and Ng and Aumonier and others reappear, and have grown as well.The plot starts out at a great pace, with two interwoven story threads: The current emergency, and a tale of two teens from 30 years or so before the current action. Perhaps you might think you have solved the central mystery at some point in the book (but you haven't), and the pieces of the puzzle are presented well in succession, gradually building a picture of the crime and it's origins.By 3/4 of the way through the book, you realise that the ending is going to be more complex in it's origins than you might have first thought. The ending itself is a bit flat, a bit rushed, with an info-dump a la Agatha Christie summations - not my favourite way to come to a solution in a mystery.As always, Reynolds' prose and plotting are good, his technology is wonderful, and the characters are interesting and sympathetic.This is a grand addition to the Revelation Space we all love from Reynolds. 4.5-stars, minus 0.5 for the somewhat flat ending.Notes and quotes:Yet there was something different about it today –a kind of pearly glimmer to its details, an inherent lack of focus, as if he saw it through tear-stained eyes. Fine, glinting threads seemed to bind its elements, as if a spider had been crawling around it overnight, trying to fix a web to its endlessly shifting geometry.A tale of hereditary power, of arrogance in the face of the inevitability of human flaws, of the hubris of kings, of the futile denial of entropy itself.That was the trouble with having a gift, though –however fairly or unfairly it had been acquired. Sooner or later one felt obliged to use it. Thank you, NetGalley, for this ARC..

  • Claudia
    2019-06-03 23:31

    Eagerly awaited this one, because I run out of Al Reynolds’ novels. As I expected, it was a blast. If you loved The Prefect (or Aurora Rising, its new name), you’ll love this one too.Although it can be read as a standalone, as it's a new twisted case involving Prefect Dreyfus & his team, you’ll miss some key details regarding the characters from previous part. Therefore, my advice is to read them in order, for a full understanding of the big picture.The plot is masterfully woven, bits and pieces coming together in a perfect ending. Not everything is black and white, some threads are being left unanswered (AR’ unmistakable signature), feature which I love, because days after, those parts are still lingering in my head, making me think further. I easily see a third volume in the future, as Aurora has a lot of unfinished business. And if I’m not mistaken, some other characters too.I wasn’t sure until the end that I would go for five stars, despite the enjoyment it brought - because only one event took me by surprise (view spoiler)[(Aliya’s murderer) (hide spoiler)] - after that the rest I could foresee. But having read all his novels, maybe now I get to see more easily the pattern, I guess. However, after I finished it and ruminated upon, I concluded that the novel undoubtedly deserves all five stars: it is perfectly constructed, has a flawless plot, all of it one great and tough puzzle coming toward full completion. Not to mention that is a really page turner - as always, AR knows how to glue his readers' eyes to the book. So, there you have it, full recommendation from my part. Now I’m back to waiting for the next one…

  • Faith
    2019-05-26 22:31

    Ten thousand orbiting artificial worlds comprise the Glitter Band with its one hundred million inhabitants. They are democracies and their citizens are constantly voting and responding to polls via neural implants. There is a very low crime rate so a small independent body of prefects was created to police the Glitter Band. The prefects, who reside on Panoply, are currently facing several problems. Confidence in the prefects is waning, a few habitats are seceding from the Glitter Band (encouraged by the rabble rouser Julius Devin Garlin Voi) and some citizens are dying due to neural implant failure. Prefect Tom Dreyfus is trying to solve the problem of the mysterious deaths while keeping the population from finding out about what may be an epidemic. I haven't read either the first book in this science fiction detective series featuring Dreyfus or anything else by this author, so I'm sure I missed some details of the world and history of Yellowstone and its orbiting Glitter Band, but I still managed to follow the story in this book (until the ending which I found very confusing and had to read twice). I really liked the worldbuilding in this book, although I didn't get much of an idea of what life is like in the Glitter Band for most of the citizens. Some people can conjure objects, animals and even elaborate locales from quickmatter. One of the prefects is a hyperpig. The prefects are armed with whiphounds, autonomous robot whips that can be used to enforce, detain and gather evidence. People are dressed by clotheswalls : "...she stepped through a clotheswall , the wall forming her uniform around her...". One of the characters is a godlike artificial intelligence named Aurora who keeps out-maneuvering Dreyfus. I enjoyed this book for its worIdbuilding and complex plot and some of the characters were interesting, although Dreyfus was probably the least interesting one. I did find the book was too long. There is a vote tampering side story that didn't really go anywhere. The author also has a habit of explaining things three or four times. However, I will probably read more by this author.I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

  • Gary
    2019-05-24 03:45

    Reynolds’ sequel to The Prefect (now called Aurora Rising) picks up not long after the events of that novel. Panoply has taken a big hit to its reputation after the cataclysmic events of the Aurora emergency, and an emerging populist movement has led a few of the habitats of the Glitter Band to abandon their ties with the protective service, with more threatening to follow. It’s no surprise when Dreyfus’ investigation of a new and deadly threat leads him straight to the leader of the anti-Panoply movement, a man who knows more about the inner workings of Panoply (and of Dreyfus himself) than any outsider rightly should. Reynolds’ mash-up of police procedural and space opera sputters a bit in this second go round. Some of the character arcs (especially Thalia’s) are nearly identical to those in the previous novel, and many of the plot turns are easy to see coming long before the novel reveals them, and the final “twist” is not so much predictable as it is irrelevant to how the story shakes out. Additionally, the problematic aspects of Dreyfus as a protagonist are more evident in this sequel; his hunches are always right, and even when he makes questionable decisions there are few lasting consequences and at most he is criticized with qualified praise. The Glitter Band is still a fascinating depiction of a futuristic democratic utopia, and there is plenty of techno-wizardry and intense action in the pages of Elysium Fire. The plotting and characterization are, however, stuck in neutral.

  • Karl
    2019-06-16 19:20

    This hardcover is the first British edition.

  • Jason
    2019-05-23 02:43

    5 Stars Alastair Reynolds is my very favorite authors and Elysium Fire is the sequel to one of my all time favorite science fiction novels. Well let me sum this one by saying I was surprised at just how much I loved this book. It plays to all my favorite things...high tech, cool mystery, strong lead detective, hard science, great world building, gadgets, monsters, and gobbley goo like magic. This book has it all.If you read the first book then this is a book that should not be missed. If you haven't read Alastair Reynolds, well, you have really been missing out.Amazing and fun read which happens to be a sequel...

  • Mark
    2019-06-16 23:22

    This one’s an unexpected surprise. Back in 2007 I reviewed The Prefect (now renamed Aurora Rising) with the hope that I would read more from the same setting. Over ten years later we return to the worlds of the Glitter Band, patrolled by the Panoply police force. It’s a magnificent humdinger of a sequel.For many readers the good news is that these novels fit into Alastair’s grand scheme of Revelation Space, a Future History of rise and fall, ambition and decay, in the finest traditions of Iain M Banks’ Culture or even Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. In Alastair’s setting, these novels are prequels, happening before the events that are in his novels like Chasm City. The Melding Plague catastrophe that will befall the thousands of orbital habitats grouped together as The Glitter Band has not yet happened, although there are intriguing little snippets throughout these books that things are not going to end well.In Elysium Fire it is now two years after the Aurora Event (told in Aurora Rising). The characters we met in the first book return, older and wiser and still defending law and order when needs be. Deputy Tom Dreyfus is back as a Chief Prefect (detective), his boss, Supreme Prefect Jane Aumonier, and Dreyfus’s fellow officers to whom he is a mentor, Thalia Ng & a genetically enhanced ‘hyper pig’ Sparver Bancal.Elysium Fire begins with a series of sudden deaths amongst the Glitter Band citizens. There seems to be no pattern and no motive. None of the victims seem to be connected and they are all from different walks of life and different habitats. Dreyfus and his team are brought into this situation when Thalia is asked to retrieve one of the victim’s bodies. Dreyfus is told that this is not the first and there has been nearly fifty deaths so far. Worryingly, the incidents, referred to as “Wildfire”, are on the increase, with the time between each death shortening. Panoply has to try and determine cause and motive before the problem spreads across the Glitter Band and also stop it happening further.As you can see, things have moved on since The Prefect, and not entirely for the better. The ‘Aurora Event’, and the way it was handled by Panoply, has led to a growing unease between the citizens and the law enforcement agency. We are seeing unrest across the Band, which Dreyfus and his team struggle to maintain control over. One of the most outspoken critics of Panoply is Devon Garlin, an evangelistic orator whose path keeps crossing with Dreyfus as he travels to different habitats. Dreyfus is convinced that Devon has something to do with Wildfire but cannot pin him down to anything specific.Much of the novel is about this but there are subplots. One is about two twins, Caleb and Julius, whose mysterious upbringing has implications for the old families of the Band and will no doubt be connected to future events. We also have the return of Aurora, whose involvement in events is never simple.This is being touted as a stand-alone novel. I am sure that it can be, but I appreciated re-reading Aurora Rising first. (In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I did something I rarely do these days and read two books in a series back-to-back.)  This rereading showed me that with Elysium Fire how much Alastair has grown as a writer in the last decade. The characters here have grown in depth and complexity since The Prefect, and consequently our need to ‘see them right’ has grown with it. They are more fleshed out, more conflicted…. more human. As before, the setting is a wonderful conceit, all the more so when long-time readers know that eventually things will not be what they are here.Elysium Fire hits the ground running and slowly and cleverly connects what seem to be disparate aspects of the novel. By the end the issues of the book resolve themselves and set things up nicely for future stories.When I reviewed The Prefect I did say I would hope that there would be more in this series. Elysium Fire shows that it was right to return to this universe and that there is potential for more stories in Revelation Space. I hope that it’ll not be ten years.

  • Chris
    2019-05-27 00:26

    *copy from Netglly in exchange for a review*Elysium Fire is the second in Alastair Reynold’s ‘Prefect Dreyfus’ sequence – itself part of his ‘Revelation Space’ universe. It’s been ten years since the first of the sequence introduced us to Dreyfus, in a stellar blend of sci-fi and noir, so I was quite excited to see where this sequel took us.Where it takes us first of all, is the Glitter Band, an orbital ring of high-tech habitats orbiting the planet Yellowstone. The Glitter Band is perhaps humanity’s finest achievement. It’s effectively a post-scarcity economy, with no starving masses yearning to be free. In part, this is because of its unique political system. Each citizen of the Band is able to vote on issues in real time, using neural implants. It’s a society that is run, basically, by the people within it. Each habitat in the Band is able to set up its own society, and its own rules. Some of these societies are downright odd – like the habitats where everyone is perpetually wired into virtual reality with their body on ice, or where all the citizens have entered a voluntary coma. Others are considerably more toxic – “voluntary tyrannies” for example.But the one core right of the Glitter Band is the vote. No matter your society, you can vote. It’s at the core of the Band’s social structure. When there are irregularities in the voting, that’s when the Prefects are called in. They’re what passes for law enforcement in a world which has largely eschewed crime. Negotiators, a quick reaction force, investigators, analysts – the Prefects do it all, with limited resources. Following the events of the previous book, which involved considerable loss of life and property damage, they find their institution eyed with increasing scepticism by the citizenry. There’s an antiauthoritarian trend here, and sparks of demagoguery and secession movements are starting to fly. The Band is a delicate structure, always dancing on a tightrope between the needs of the citizenry, the increasingly constrained and beleaguered authority of the Prefects, and the risk of catastrophic incidents in a world which is incredibly tightly coupled. It’s an entirely plausible, complicated, sharply realised society, one which showcases its complexity and provides a living, breathing world for the characters to work within.Speaking of characters. Inspector Dreyfus, unsurprisingly, returns for this book. The duty-bound inspector was always a joy to read. He has a clear affection for the high-tech utopia around him, and an awareness of its vulnerabilities. That’s matched with a similar incisiveness into both his own condition and those of his subordinates and suspects. Dreyfus is, of course, troubled – still carrying the physical and mental scars from the previous emergency, and from decisions he took decades earlier. Here is a man with the capacity to cut through the wood of false trails one so sharp he might actually cut himself.It’s nice to see that he’s as gruff with his team as ever, a layer sat over a deeper affection.Dreyfus is backed by Sparver and Ng, the duo who served as his team in the previous book. Sparver is perhaps the more emotional, the one more prone to action over analysis. Where Dreyfus navigates through the wood to find the trees, Sparver is probably off somewhere arranging for a chainsaw delivery. Ng is the more technical, quieter, less authoritative, at least within the team. Like Sparver, she’s insightful, and a wizard with technology – but more prone to analysis, and less prone to reach for a weapon. Between them, the hyper-pig and the tech make a great backup for Dreyfus, a man in whom they’re prepared to invest their trust. Together, they make a compelling triad – laced with flaws, as all families are, but with an emotional depth that resonates off the page.They’re surrounded by a cast of other characters of course, from the terrifyingly intelligent Jane Aumonier, head of the Prefects, for whom Dreyfus is an excellent button-man, and the more martial Prefects trying to run the organisation, to stern faced, damaged orbital construction workers, and open-faced, virulently persuasive demagogues. It’s a pleasure to seem some familiar faces in the background, their faces and views tracking from the previous book. This new emergency carries new heroes and villains of course, though the cunningly crafted narrative often left me wondering which was which.From a plot standpoint – well, this is a mystery novel, so no spoilers. There are mysterious deaths occurring throughout the Glitter Band, and their pace appears to be escalating. Dreyfus and his team have to track down the cause, before even more people die. There’s a lot to love in the plot – the investigation is snappily paced, slowing down to give you a view on Dreyfus’s thoughts, and the reactions of those around him, letting you draw your conclusions alongside the Prefects; but it’s quite happy to ramp up for some vividly drawn and snappily paced action scenes, which wrap around the emotional core of the story and keep the stakes high and the adrenaline going. This is a story willing to look at social change and consequences in the micro and macro levels, to explore the ways that new technologies would impact people – but also wants to show you that the participants are, at heart, people. The central mystery is thoughtfully crafted and left me scratching my head trying to work it out as I went along; the world, as always with Reynolds, is beautifully drawn, and the characters seem to stroll off the page, bringing wry remarks and the streets of the Glitter Band with them.If you’re new to Reyonold’s work, I’d say go back and start with the first in this series (“The Prefect”/”Aurora Rising”) – there’s some back story which it’s worth knowing before you take the plunge here. But as a returning reader, Reynolds has brough back Dreyfus and the Glitter Band in high style; if you’re looking for a cracking sci-fi mystery, pick this one up.

  • Andrea
    2019-05-28 20:28

    I loved every page. It was a perfect combination of drama, mystery, world-building and classic noir detective story. I do very much hope there will be a third.

  • Jonathan
    2019-05-24 19:35

    *ARC from Netgalley*Reynolds's novel-length return to the Revelation Space universe was not a letdown.Elysium Fire is in the same hard sci-fi style as the other RS books (although not as tenebrous and oppressive since this one takes place before things have Gone to Shit). I felt there was deeper characterization here than in previous novels. Personalities were more distinguishable. It also seems that Reynolds is more generous with explication this time -- we learn more about whiphounds in two paragraphs than we did in all of The Prefect. Dialogue is still a bit clunky at times, but we're starting to be able to tell characters apart from their speech.Plotwise, Reynolds employs his signature multiple, seemingly unrelated plot-lines that eventually converge. Don't be put off if you haven't read The Prefect; you'll miss references to some things, but the novel can be enjoyed otherwise.If you like the other RS books you'll probably like this. Reynolds's writing has gotten sharper, leaner, and more focused. I was so happy to hear there would be book-length return to RS, and this book did not disappoint.

  • Julie
    2019-05-20 20:32

    "Dreyfus put on a solemn look. ‘You died.’ He paused, letting that sink in for a second or two. ‘It was violent and irrevocable, with no prospect of neural consolidation. But you had a beta-level instantiation shadowing you for many years. That beta-level has now been legally sequestered and brought to a responsive state within a simulated environment, executing inside Panoply.’"I'm so pleased to have been able to read this latest book by Alastair Reynolds, one of my favourite authors.The story of the Prefects in the Glitter Band around the planet Yellowstone, continues with Tom Dreyfus again featuring prominently as he did in "The Prefect (recently retitled 'Aurora Rising')" Opening with a young boy watching a distant fire and then returning to his bed coughing from the smoke inhalation, it starts benignly enough. Until we switch to Thalia Ng who is doing her duty as a Prefect upgrading the polling core on the Shiga-Mintz Spindle. It is from her shift on Shiga-Mintz that Thalia is drawn into the main story, when she is required to undertake an unexpected gory duty.Citizens are having 'issues' with their implants which are causing them to malfunction and effectively cook their brains. The Prefects need to recover a viable set of implants from a 'melter' in order to find out what is causing the malfunction. The aforementioned boy is one of two 'Voi' sons who play a pivotal role through the story. I had thought that I had figured it out part way through and found it interesting to see how right I was about what the provocateur line would run like. You've probably guessed that I was wrong in any case.I found myself visiting the story in my mind even when I wasn't actually reading it, as I pondered what was happening and where the next twist would take me. Thoroughly enjoyable to read and I would really like to read more about the Prefects and Panoply (their own little pumpkin-faced boulder of a world). I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. NetGalley does not allow for paid reviews.

  • Kate
    2019-06-17 02:32

    The Prefect returns... excellent worldbuilding and a pleasingly dark high-tech mystery in the Glitter Band.

  • Paul
    2019-06-05 19:43

    The authorities in the Glitter Band are starting to worry; there one was death a couple of weeks ago that they have not be able to explain. Last week there were two more. This week there have been four. No one has been able to explain why, and the information that they have tried to elicit from the corpses themselves hasn't given any leads. The implants that link each citizen to each other and the state in a fluid form of democracy where citizens are consulted and vote on matters small and large, have gone rogue and killed their hosts. Are these just random failings of the implants, which is unheard of, or is there someone out there causing them to fail? Panoply realises that they have a problem on their hands, one that seems to be growing exponentially and they have no idea who will be next to die.The secrecy surrounding the deaths is high as they cannot risk society finding out that there is a killer on the loose. Inspector Dreyfus is brought urgently up to speed on the cases so far and those that are happening as the investigation tries to develop leads. To add to their woes, Devon Garlin, a member of the elite from Chasm City, is raising the political game by questioning the authority of the prefects and society with the aim of driving wedges between the habitats; somehow he seems to know about the mysterious deaths of the people too. What was a worrying situation is fast getting out of control...Set in the Revelation Space universe this is a fast-paced sci-fi detective thriller is full of twists and turns and Dreyfus and his team try to work out who is doing the killing. The tech in the futuristic world is quite spectacular and Reynolds still manages to make it sound completely plausible. The secrets are revealed a little bit at a time as the story races to its fairly dramatic conclusion. However, it did feel like the ending unravelled a little too much rather than being neatly terminated, but that might be because there is more to come in a subsequent book; I hope so. Another stunning book from one of the masters of science fiction.

  • Alex
    2019-05-21 00:20

    **Copy from Netgalley**I loved ‘The Prefect’ and I’m pleased to be able to report that the second book in the series is as good, if not better. Reynolds is rapidly becoming the UK’s best living creator of character driven space opera.

  • Guillermo
    2019-06-13 20:36

    Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review. After further reflection, I had to lower this to three stars from my initial four. The story and pacing was tight, as is almost always the case with Reynolds, but there were too many issues and missed opportunities for me to give this four stars. Slight spoilers ahead. Elysium Fire is the sequel a prequel (The Prefect) in the Revelation Space universe, taking place roughly 200 years before the events of Revelation Space. Like The Prefect, Reynolds smashes together a cool police procedural with some wild science fiction ideas, and even a small dash of political theory. The plot centers around a terrifying wave of mysterious deaths that seem to be coming from the neurological implants that most of the population in the Glitter Band wear. The Glitter Band is not an irrelevant subgenre of British glam rock, but is instead a collection of human habitats orbiting a planet around a distant star where citizens participate in the ultimate form of direct democracy. It's really a much more interesting setting than that which I've just described, but you should already know what I'm talking about since you have already done your homework and read The Prefect before you attempt to read this. But remember all the cool ideas about how people lived in those habitats that you read in that installment? There's not much of that present here in Elysium Fire. It was a wasted opportunity in my opinion. Another misfire was that this story would lead you to believe that it is about the beginning of the Melding Plague - one of the seminal events in the Revelation Space universe, but it really wasn't. As soon as that fact settled in, I felt my enjoyment of the book start to slightly drop. What did Reynold do right? There were some temporal twists I didn't see coming that I enjoyed and the story did move briskly. There isn't much irrelevant padding or characters in Reynold's works and I really respect him and appreciate him for not wasting his readers' time. I give him credit for never really letting my interest wane too much as I really wanted to find out what happened next. So I know this is slightly unfair criticism, as we shouldn't review books for what they didn't have, but for what they do contain and how that story is executed. Paradoxically, I would've enjoyed this book more, had I not known anything about the Melding Plague or The Prefect, but reading the Prefect is definitely a prerequisite for reading Elysium Fire. Therefore the three star rating - not a bad rating in my book at all, but not really a book I would highly endorse or reread.

  • Jo(Mixed Book Bag)
    2019-05-25 19:36

    Prefect Tom Dreyfus is at the heart of this story. This is listed as Perfect Dreyfus Emergency #2. I did not read #1 but had no trouble following the story. I loved the world building. The Gilder Ring is made up of ten thousand city-state habitats that orbit the planet Yellowstone. On the surface is a large city under a lifesaving dome. This is a perfect world with a perfect democracy but something is going wrong. People are dying and the number is increasing. Drefus is the one who must find out who is next and why. This is a mystery with the solution found in both the present and the past. I loved the story, wished I had more of the back story from book one, and through the characters were as impressive as the plot.

  • Odo
    2019-05-21 00:36


  • Usr Tau
    2019-06-05 22:46

    Great addition to the Revelation Space collection. No plot devices. No lengthy secondary stories. Regarded on more than one plane, amalgamation of a novel driven by: interactions through dialogues, sophisticated characters and detailed narration. Has no problem of leaving an impression of a world full of devoted professionals, amazing machines and interesting instances. Intriguing future, one part scary, and the other, place hard to let go without detailed analysis. Based on previous works in the series, an addition that doesn't disappoint.[sorry for potential semantic errors]

  • Luke Burrage
    2019-05-31 23:43

    Full review on my podcast, SFBRP episode #359.

  • Juliane Kunzendorf
    2019-05-19 01:34

    Review on the SFBRP #359!

  • Ralph Blackburn
    2019-05-28 00:37

    Elysium Fire by Alastair Reynolds- A sequel to 2007's The Prefect, this a mystery wrapped in a tale of vengeance. Prefect Tom Dreyfuss is once again called to save the thousands of Demarchist settlements in the Glitter Band of habitats circling the harsh planet Yellowstone. People are dying, without any warning, their implants burning their brains. No obvious cause is apparent. Thalia Ng is there and has an idea and Sparver Bancal, the hyper-pig is along to do what he does best- staying alive. Things get progressively worse as hundreds die. Dryefuss is visited by the incorporeal being "Aurora", still alive from their last encounter, and he knows at once, things are going to hell. The Prefect is one of my all-time favorite books by Reynolds or anyone for that matter, and Elysium Fire has the smarts and the audacity to be able to stand next to it.

  • Chloe
    2019-06-04 21:18

    Environ dix ans après la parution de The Prefect, Alastair Reynolds revient avec une nouvelle enquête de Tom Dreyfus. Les événements se déroulent deux ans après ceux du premier tome. Panoply fait face à une perte de confiance de la part des habitats de la Glitter Band. Une situation qui profite à Devon Garlin, usant de discours visant à inciter les citoyens à s'affranchir du système actuel. Par ailleurs, Panoply doit affronter une nouvelle crise : une série de morts sévit sans que personne ne puisse en expliquer la cause. Le défi est donc de résoudre cette affaire sans qu'elle ne s'ébruite, afin d'éviter la panique générale et de donner du grain à moudre aux idées de Garlin.Dans Elysium Fire, nous retrouvons des personnages qui faisaient déjà la force du premier opus. Que ce soit Tom Dreyfus, ses collègues Thalia Ng et Sparver Bancal, ou encore sa supérieure Jane Aumonier, il est agréable de les voir de nouveau évoluer à travers diverses péripéties. Chacun d'entre eux possède déjà une personnalité et une verve plaisantes, mais leur situation et leurs relations permettent également d'apporter des thèmes intéressants.Tom Dreyfus est cet homme détenant une forte expérience, croyant donc en son instinct, mais n'étant pas à l'abri d'une erreur professionnelle si ses convictions ou son intégrité font l'objet d'une attaque. En cela, ses interactions avec Devon Garlin sont à la fois frustrantes et captivantes, puisque les deux personnages sont très différents hormis leur entêtement, et représentent chacun une vision définie de ce qu'est la Glitter Band. Si le lecteur est plus enclin à prendre parti pour Dreyfus, il n'est pas impossible de comprendre le point de vue de Garlin, dont le discours reflète la peur et l'insécurité des citoyens.Thalia Ng et Sparver Bancal sont deux préfets qui se ressemblent sur de nombreux aspects. Tous les deux ressentent ou ont ressenti le besoin de prouver leur valeur – Thalia suite aux préjugés envers son père, Sparver suite à sa condition d'hyperpig. Tous les deux sont des personnes compétentes défiant parfois l'autorité pour faire entendre leurs idées. Tous les deux vivent en quelque sorte dans l'ombre de leur mentor, Dreyfus. Tout cela mène à une solidarité entre eux, mais également à des conflits, notamment lorsque leur façon d'opérer est remise en question.Jane Aumonier est une figure forte sur de nombreux points. Avoir dépassé l'épreuve du scarab, elle a gardé la ténacité dont elle a dû user pour survivre pendant onze ans. Pouvant accomplir son travail sans sembler s'épuiser, elle est l'autorité dont Panoply a besoin en temps de crise. Devant analyser les différentes options, elle est la personne responsable des décisions à prendre, même si le coût paraît élevé. Un fardeau difficile pour une seule paire d'épaules, et l'on peut s'interroger sur la capacité d'une personne à endosser tout cela, car la possibilité d'une erreur n'est jamais exclue.Elysium Fire bénéficie donc d'un noyau de personnages attachants, nous impliquant facilement dans l'histoire, car c'est à leurs côtés que l'on tente de résoudre le mystère, et leurs qualités ainsi que leurs défauts les rendent sympathiques.Une fois de plus, l'enquête s'inscrit dans l'univers de Revelation Space. Le récit alterne entre présent et passé, les analepses nous contant l'enfance de Julius et Caleb, fils de Marlon et Aliya Voi. Ce nom revenait déjà régulièrement dans The Prefect, Sandra Voi étant à l'origine du système démocratique de la Glitter Band, et son nom étant devenu une façon de jurer comme on pourrait le faire avec Dieu (exemple : “What in Voi's name”). Toutefois, contrairement au volet précédent, les connexions avec les autres livres du même univers s'avèrent bien plus légères, les liens se faisant davantage avec l'autre aventure de Dreyfus. À ce sujet, il est bon de noter que malgré le prologue servant de résumé, il est tout de même fort conseillé de lire The Prefect avant Elysium Fire, car plusieurs références seraient alors obscures au lecteur.Ce manque de connexions réelles avec le reste de la saga est plutôt regrettable, car on ne ressent pas tellement les conséquences de l'enquête sur la fresque entière. Plusieurs points sont pourtant importants et concernent le fonctionnement de la Glitter Band, mais ils apportent leur lot de questions qui demeurent inexplorées. Un effet qui n'est malheureusement pas isolé, puisque plusieurs éléments de narration sont un peu trop survolés, l'un d'eux donnant même la sensation d'être là pour le lecteur plutôt que pour les personnages de l'histoire. Ces zones d'ombre ne sont pas vraiment un problème durant la lecture, car on peut imaginer qu'elles seront résolues plus tard, mais au fur et à mesure, on se doute bien qu'il est impossible d'adresser ces soucis dans les chapitres restants. Un goût d'inachevé teinte alors la lecture, comme s'il manquait des pages à l’œuvre. Une impression assez légitime quand on voit que Elysium Fire fait environ deux cents pages de moins que les autres livres de l'auteur. Les idées présentes méritaient peut-être ces pages manquantes pour se développer à leur guise.Finalement, malgré ses défauts, Elysium Fire est un roman très agréable à lire. Alastair Reynolds signe là une suite qui ne possède peut-être pas la même ampleur que The Prefect, mais qui nous offre un nouveau morceau de vie de Panoply sachant nous tenir en haleine.

  • Cara
    2019-06-10 02:21

    4.5/5To be honest, I had my doubts about the sequel to The Prefect (Prefect Dreyfus Emergency #1 [I believe The Prefect will be retitled as Aurora Rising with the release of this novel]), but Elysium Fire is a more-than worthy sequel and a very welcome addition to the Revelation Space universe. Just when you thought you knew everything (or very nearly everything) there was to know, Alastair Reynolds goes and provides more tantalising, clarifying details about the characters, technology and events that make up the greater RS universe."Across the grounds, far from Shell House - but still within the family dome, rather than beyond it, in the greater expanse of Chasm City - something was on fire."Set in 2429, two years after the Aurora Crisis, trouble is again smoldering in the Glitter Band. Citizen Devon Garlin (demagogue and talented orator/troublemaker that he is) has cast doubt on the operational ability and moral integrity of Panoply. Eight habitats have declared independence as citizens appear to be succumbing in increasing number and frequency to an illness which plagues their implants. Codenamed "Wildfire", the affliction manifests itself as a thermal cerebral implant overload which results in the irreversible brain deaths of those affected. The "melter" victims appear to have nothing in common apart from a propensity for risk-taking. Our trio of protagonists Tom Dreyfus, Sparver Bancal and Thalia Ng work against the clock to uncover the source of the deaths even as the death toll sharply rises.(view spoiler)[While I'd hoped this novel would focus on the initial stages of the advent of the Melding Plague if not the aftermath of the Aurora crisis or Dreyfus solving Clockmaker/Philip Lascaille's murder (Reynolds seems to have indicated in his blog that it would not), it instead deals with something much more frightening: post-mortal Demarchists and their cruel, unusual nature. Human nature. Aurora and the Clockmaker, the malevolent AI and the antagonists of The Prefect (who appear as characters in the sequel...Aurora, at least, is a significant role-player and even becomes a protagonist, of sorts), are perhaps meant to acquire a more sympathetic view in light of the terrible actions perpetrated by the alleged flesh-and-blood human "victims" of Wildfire.As it turns out the Wildfire victims were a part of a gambling syndicate that bet on the outcome of recreating one of the early Amerikano settlements on Yellowstone; "the raising of successive generations of children in an illegal experiment in retrospective social engineering, with each batch of children being doomed to euthanisation when they served their purpose". One of the twin victims who survived this experiment, Julius Voi (great grandson of the illustrious Sandra Voi, engineer of the GWOM), plots to exact his revenge, using his oblivious twin, Caleb, as a tool in his retribution.Reynolds may be criticised for his characters (and lack of their development) but I found aspects of each of them I could relate to and sympathise with, both good and bad. I liked that, despite all the advancements in technology, human civilization (even near-seemingly-perfect Demarchist society) has not managed to escape its reptilian/basal mammalian programming. We are still slaves to our nature. And it's not pretty. I can identify more readily with this than an episode of Star Trek (and I'm not even talking in terms of technology), which is is what appeals to me. (hide spoiler)]My only criticism is that the plot is a bit formulaic, similar to The Prefect in that a Crisis unfolds and must be dealt with. There are also shades of the identity switch/manufactured identity crisis of that of Tanner Mirabel/Sky Haussmann in Chasm City, and some predictability (as far as RS novels go) which accounts for the 0.5 off a full 5 rating. But these didn't detract from my enjoyment/engagement with the book. The novel moves quickly, perhaps more quickly than any of Reynolds' other RS novels. And I'd certainly be thrilled if a Prefect Dreyfus Emergency #3 were to materialise.

  • Terence Blake
    2019-06-15 03:19

    ELYSIUM FIRE: wonder vs catharsis (three-and-a-half stars)Before reading ELYSIUM FIRE I first read the short story “Open and Shut” (available free online here: and then the novel THE PREFECT to prepare for this new book. ELYSIUM FIRE is billed as a standalone novel but our understanding and enjoyment is greatly enriched by reading these two prequels. In fact, I think that the attempt to make ELYSIUM FIRE a standalone novel by incorporating numerous infodumps to explain to the first-time reader material that was acquired more contextually in THE PREFECT actually weakened it.ELYSIUM FIRE (Prefect Dreyfus Emergency 2) is a worthy sequel to THE PREFECT, which is now retitled AURORA RISING. It presents us once again with a gripping story, full of impatience-provoking suspense and surprising reversals.ELYSIUM FIRE (Prefect Dreyfus Emergency 2) by Alastair Reynolds is a worthy sequel to THE PREFECT. It presents us once again with a gripping story, full of impatience-provoking suspense and surprising reversals.However, most of the necessary world building was done in THE PREFECT, so the sense of wonder, so ably conveyed by Reynolds, is diminished if one has read the first volume, which managed to combine harmoniously both wonder and intrigue. The sequel is much more explanatory than THE PREFECT. If the stylistic ideal for fiction is show, don't tell, in this second volume we have more telling, less showing, and the harmonious balance is lost.New elements include duplicitous sub-plot concerning two morally ambiguous brothers who are brought up in a vast mansion full of dark secrets within secrets and strange technology, that recalls Gene Wolfe's novella "The Fifth Head of Cerberus". There is a similar exploration of the complex relations between identity, doubles, and memory.(The SFFaudio Podcast episode #439 contains a very interesting discussion of the Gene Wolfe novella).The theme of doubles is repeated in the ethical and legal concerns over the ontological status and the rights of digital copies of people, and the potential blurring of the notions of sentience, responsibility, and culpability.There is also a shift of emphasis in the analysis of democracy. Whereas THE PREFECT expanded on the potentiality of a technology-assisted democracy to produce extreme living choices, ELYSIUM FIRE focuses more on the loopholes and failings such as the power of demagogy, the identitarian will to secession, and the manipulation of information.One of the sub-plots that was foregrounded in the the first volume, that of the battle between two vast distributed artificial intelligences (Aurora and the Clockmaker), is carried over into this volume but remains mostly in the background. Its continued but unresolved presence suggests a formulaic plot device capable of generating at least a third "Prefect Dreyfus Emergency" novel, or even more.This develoment promises to reinforce the primacy of intrigue over cosmo-technical invention that characterises this second volume, and so perhaps to a further decline in science-fictional wonderment in favour of police procedural excitement and catharsis.In short ELYSIUM FIRE is an enthralling novel that makes one want to race through the book and to finish it in as few sittings as possible. It comes close to, but does not fully match, the balance of speculative invention and suspense-filled intrigue that made the first book such a successful fusion of sf and detective genres.

  • Brian Clegg
    2019-05-29 20:24

    Reading an author for the first time is always a step in the dark, but just occasionally it becomes immediately clear that here's someone you'll have to keep reading. The last SF authors I can remember feeling this about were Adam Roberts and the late Iain M. Banks - but I am going to have to include Alastair Reynolds in this class.One of the puffs on the back of the book describes Reynolds as a 'mastersinger of the space opera'. To be honest, I think this was a critic who had thought up a clever turn of phrase and was going to lever it in come what may - because I certainly wouldn't class this as a space opera. Okay, it's set on multiple locations in space and there are spaceships - but adventures in space aren't central to the way the book works. Instead, this is very much a detective story in futuristic science fiction setting.Although the main character is flagged up on the cover as being Prefect Dreyfus, this is very much an ensemble piece, with half a dozen key characters taking the lead. In this future society where everything is decided by instant polling, keeping the polling mechanism sacrosanct is the job of a cross-habitat force of prefects, who are the main, but not only law-and-order component to the story. They face two intertwined problems - citizens dying unexpectedly from an overheating implant and a rabble-rouser attempting to break up the loose collaboration of habitats. Both need to be dealt with, stretching resources. But there are far more layers to the story, which Reynolds handles beautifully. It's always a page-turner with a huge amount of impetus - but at the same time these different layers are woven together with impressive skill.If I have one criticism it's that we don't get much of a feel of personality for quite a few of the characters. They do what they do, and there might be one characteristic that comes through, but they tend not to be fully rounded. But there's rarely time to worry too much about this. The storyline also regularly has flashbacks to the mysterious childhood of two of the characters - I usually find repeated flashbacks a real drag on the flow of the narrative and dislike them intensely, but in this case they are so essential that the technique works unusually well.Just as good as Reynolds' ability to keep the plot surging along is the innovation in his technology and world creation. Again, I haven't seen anything as comprehensively effective as Banks in this, from one of Dreyfus's colleagues who is a hyper-pig to the whiphound defensive devices used by the prefects and a whole collection of small details. What makes Banks' Culture books so special is that the whole collective of technology seems entirely natural, advanced though it is - and there's the same feeling here.Elysium Fire is the second in a series, which is reasonably obvious from a sub-plot that ends with some unfinished business, but having come to it without reading the first title I didn't feel that I had missed out on anything. The main story here is entirely self-contained. Excellent.

  • Carol
    2019-05-22 01:45

    All is not well in the thousands of habitats know as the Glitter Band, circling the planet Yellowstone. Prefect Tom Dreyfus is investigating mysterious seemingly random deaths of occupants of the utopian society, involving the malfunction of the neural implants. These implants are used by citizens for rapid communication with each other and vote on issues. One by one peoples brains are frying and the body count is rising. In parallel runs a story taking place 30 years ago with twin brothers from a prominent family who have power to manipulate quick matter. It is clear they are being groomed for something but what? All we know is that it will tie in with the present mystery. The Prefects normally investigate voting fraud but the present day murders tie into their work. There is no common thread linking the victims. The who, what and why of these deaths is such a mystery Dreyfus will have to work fast to prevent wide spread panic. Still there is no love for the hard working Prefects as they are bullied and beaten throughout the story. Whiphounds, their only weapons, prove insufficient against mob violence.I feel like there is so much going on in this book that sets the ground work for the changing of the fabulous Glitter Band utopia of peace and wealth into the future neighborhood gone to shit Rust Belt that may have to go back and re-read The Prefect and Chasm City again. There are a few themes from the previous novel that continue. Dreyfus has to interview his best witness who is a the Beta versions of the dead and still keep his cool detachment from them even though she exudes all the humanity of their previous living counterparts. And again, the beta levels probe Dreyfus for information about himself and carefully turn the tables on him by asking questions he rather not answer. And my favorite and the most charming character from the previous book, Aurora, slithers back, offering Dreyfus help but at a price. I like the entire Revelation Space series although I really like this prequel which give us insight into what went wrong in the Glitter Band. This is a complex and intricate world but this book is basically a police procedural set in the future.Corruption, memory erasing, riots, secret societies and melting brains. What's not to like? Excellent fast pace addition to the growing space opera. I would suggest reading the first book in this series, which came out 10 years ago now titled "Aurora Rising", before picking up this one.

  • Steve
    2019-06-16 03:18

    It's been a while since I visited the realm of Alastair Reynold's Revelation Space. And I jumped into this book 2 without reading the earlier novel that introduced the Prefect Dreyfus, his detective associates, and his particular neighborhood and time. I am glad I did take the leap rather than wait until I could read all of these books in some kind of order. All this is to say, jump in without worrying about catching up; these stand on their own.Reynolds wrote Elysium Fireas a police detective murder story. I also don't read a lot of these lately, yet again will say jump in. The mysterious deaths that need solving provide a window into the technology and social future the author challenges us to imagine. It is a world where implants, preparing to (in some regards) survive death, and other alternations proliferate as much as fast flight linking complex built environments. The central technology has to do with an elaborate, technology-based mechanism for basing political policy on continuous voting and polling. The detectives belong to a unit set up to police this hyper-democracy. And in the era of the book, they encounter a rebel leader promoting a breakaway "true" or more traditional social compact. Of course, publishing or reading a story of competing visions of popular democracy may seem both a relief and awkward giving the political times we are passing through now. It's kind of fun to imagine a global police unit of highly idealistic detectives rushing around from emergency to emergency to protect democracy as the society has defined it. Yes, diverting and fun. At the same time, without connecting the continuous democracy mechanism to the economics it serves, at the limit, it tends to become an abstraction, a plot device rather than something that completes and defines Reynold's worlds. What does the voting and polling serve, aside from stability? This makes the rebellion more sympathetic, at least here. This is my main wonder about the book, making it 4-star instead of 5.It was also a bit challenging to get into the web of relationships among Dreyfus and the other three central characters from the detective unit. That's my only regret about not reading the first book first. Even so, in a way, having to infer the back story just makes their interactions and dilemmas with each other all the more interesting. It is not possible to process the storyline without taking in their personalities. I am glad I read this now, as a standalone, since the whole series of Revelation Space novels seem too much to catch up on. It didn't hold back appreciating the story, and only marginally, as I just mentioned, understanding Dreyfus and his band of associates. For this, I thank Netgalley making a pre-release review copy available. The published version will be available soon; do look for it.