The magnificent conclusion to one of the greatest science fiction sagas of our time
The time of reckoning has arrived. As a final genocidal Crusade threatens to enslave humanity forever, a new messiah has come of age. She is Aenea and she has undergone a strange apprenticeship to those known as the Others. Now her protector, Raul Endymion, one-time shepherd and convicted murderer, must help her deliver her startling message to her growing army of disciples.
But first they must embark on a final spectacular mission to discover the underlying meaning of the universe itself. They have been followed on their journey by the mysterious Shrike--monster, angel, killing machine--who is about to reveal the long-held secret of its origin and purpose. And on the planet of Hyperion, where the story first began, the final revelation will be delivered--an apocalyptic message that unlocks the secrets of existence and the fate of humankind in the galaxy.
Is the adolescent girl Aenea actually the new messiah? What is the real nature of that enigmatic killing machine, the Shrike? What are the renegade TechnoCore's true plans for humanity and the galaxy? What destiny will Raul Endymion find among the stars? All the questions are finally answered in this concluding fourth volume of Simmons's award-winning Hyperion saga (Endymion, etc.). The resurgence of the dying Catholic Church after it discovers how to resurrect the dead turns out to have even more significance than its leaders realize. The technological miracle of faster-than-light travel is shown to have a dark side that could destroy the universe. And nothing is what it seems to be. Because his plotting has been so complex in the previous Hyperion books and because his cast of characters has grown so large, Simmons is forced to devote considerable space simply to recounting and explicating past events. Also problematic is Aenea's explanation of her messianic purpose. Her few concrete initiatives, including stopping certain misuses of technology and instituting political and religious freedom across the galaxy, seem plausible. Her larger message, however--an argument for the existence of love as a physical component of the universe on a par with electromagnetism and gravity--never gains substance. Simmons veers from plot summary and vague philosophy to some well-crafted action sequences. Readers of the preceding Hyperion novels will want to find out how everything turns out, but this volume does not stand steady on its own. Author tour.
Four and a half star finale to a five star series
Most great works of science fiction end up being great works of philosophy, as well. The Hyperion Cantos series is no exception, with the fourth and final book punctuating its universal lesson of tolerance and understanding.
The final book loses half a star because too much of it is slowed in places by Dickensian description.
Not the best book of the series but still great. Re-read it again after twenty years and loved it. One of the few books that made me sad when I finished it, for the journey with all the characters was over.
My favorite sci-fi series. Love it.