Mindstar Rising - Peter F. Hamilton

***** A novel that reads your mind

In titling this review I have deliberately played with the plot of the book. “Mindstar Rising” in fact has as its protagonist a former military, Greg Mandel, who was implanted with a special gland that allows him to feel the emotions of other people, and in a sense, to read their minds, even if not literally. Mandel is now a private detective who finds himself investigating a plot of global reach focused on the young heir to a billionaire. The story is set in a dystopian near future, a future in which global warming has transformed England into an almost deserted place where seas invaded the coasts and changed their morphology, where oil is over, and people live in a world degraded in a mixture of low and high tech, the second especially is the prerogative of the rich.
The setting is picturesque, though I cannot stand post-apocalyptic stories, but the plot revolves around something very different and so this aspect hasn’t had a negative influence on my judgment.
Although we are faced with situations very different from those of the usual books by Hamilton, his style is recognizable in the extreme complexity of the plot, the description of uninhibited erotic situations narrated as something natural, his long scenes that keep you glued to the pages of the book, his sought language that forces you to concentrate to the maximum while reading, the ending that can tear a smile.
This is the first novel of Hamilton, the first of a trilogy that I will continue to read soon. In a sense, I appreciated  it even more than his space operas, perhaps because imagining a near future gave me more references in the present and made it easier to imagine myself in the story. Hamilton’s characters are alive and you just want to know more about them. Also it is a thriller set in the future with shades of transhumanism, in other words a cyberpunk technothriller, but very contemporary, although it was published twenty years ago and some technological aspect is slightly outdated. But it differs from a certain obscurity of other books of this subgenre dated back to ten or more years earlier, making it an accessible read to a wider audience that goes beyond science fiction.
Unfortunately, the book has never been translated into my language (Italian) and reading it in English requires a good knowledge of the language, given the richness of the language used by the author and his high register. But it can also be an opportunity to improve your English.
Finally, the edition I read, the one published on the twentieth anniversary of the novel (each copy is numbered and signed by the author) also contains a previously unpublished novella in the first part of the book, but chronologically inserted at the end of the trilogy. It is a proper detective story, but set in the future and with an unpredictable and politically incorrect ending, which I would call it à la Hamilton and which makes it very different from other stories of this genre.

Mindstar Rising on Amazon.