With his infectious love of storytelling in all its forms, his rich characterisation and his unrivalled grasp of thrillingly bizarre cutting-edge science Hannu Rajaniemi has swiftly set a new benchmark for SF in the 21st century. And now with his third novel he completes the tale of his gentleman rogue, the many lives and minds of Jean de Flambeur.
Influenced as much by the fin de siecle novels of Maurice leBlanc as he is by the greats of SF Rajaniemi weaves, intricate, warm capers through dazzling science, extraordinary visions of wild future and deep conjecture on the nature of reality and story.
And now we find out what will happen to Jean, his employer Miele, the independently minded ship Perhonnen and the rest of a fractured and diverse humanity flung through the solar system.
Rajaniemi's largely satisfying third and final tale of posthuman gentleman thief Jean le Flambeur (after The Quantum Thief and The Fractal Prince) occasionally gets a bit muddled as the plot hits its crescendo. After Jean's rescuer and employer, Mieli, is cast into space, Jean concocts a plan to rescue her with the assistance of former nemesis Matjek, now reincarnated as a child. Meanwhile, Mieli is drawn into the conflict between the Zoku and the Sobornost via the Great Game, and Jos phine, who instigated the events that launched the series, continues her machinations. Rajaniemi's distant future is filled with duplicated bodies and quantum prisons, and at times the relentless terminology ("Founder gogol," "Wang bullet," "qupt") begs for exposition, but context generally prevails for the patient reader, especially one who's read the earlier books. One weakness is the early death of a character who'd seemed destined for more, a symptom of loose ends being too aggressively tied up. But Rajaniemi still offers a thrilling final ride, and fans will walk away satisfied.