Fallen Dragon - Peter F. Hamilton

***** The quintessence of space opera

After the Void Trilogy, "Fallen Dragon" is the second book I read by Peter F. Hamilton and it strengthens my good opinion on this great British science fiction author. Once again I find myself speechless in front of the imagination of Hamilton, able to create extremely complex and detailed timelines, yet very different from each other.
Narrated for the most part on two parallel timelines, "Fallen Dragon" tells the story of Lawrence Newton, a mercenary who works for a big company from Earth, though he was born in another world colonized by humans. Lawrence is a soldier who participates in the campaigns of piracy against other colonized worlds, and who returns to a planet where he had already been years before, whose inhabitants have now decided to oppose to this new invasion.
For much of the book Hamilton manages to keep up the curiosity about a controversial character, a pirate, placed against a population that does not disdain acts of terrorism in order to obtain its goal. It is difficult to distinguish the good and the evil in the story and this complexity of interpretation, which seems to characterize this author, makes the story totally unpredictable. Through the use of long, but never boring, scenes full of interesting technical details, typical of hard sci-fi, once again the scientific element joins the more specifically fantastic and almost magical one. The fallen dragon of the title, which makes its appearance only towards the end of the book, evokes a mythological figure, but it's actually something much more concrete, proving once again that ignorance about technology can be mistaken for magic.
The worlds described in this book, including Earth in the twenty-fourth century, are very far from our view of reality, and yet they are terribly real and engaging. Hamilton's prose evokes vivid images, rich in colour, and makes the reader feel the same feelings of the protagonist, until the epilogue, which is able to cause a smile and maybe even a tear.

Fallen Dragon on Amazon.com.