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The Thousand Emperors by Gary Gibson

Tor, 2012, 359p.

After a strange encounter with a renegade, when a dangerous piece of technology, an instantiation lattice, is forcibly inserted into his brain, information specialist Luc Gabion is called in to investigate the murder of a member of the Temur Council, one of the Thousand Emperors of the title, rulers of the Tian-Di, half of the two parts into which humanity had split after the events of Gibson’s previous novel Final Days.

Thereafter we are plunged into a mix of power politics, interstellar intrigue and action sequences with all the attendant skiffy stuff – armed insect–like machines called mechants, jump gates, books that release their contents on contact, enhanced humans with disseminated consciousnesses – of which devotees of Space Opera are fond.

I have a feeling that Gibson may have rushed this one; or else was squeezing too much into his word count. Quite a lot of the background information was revealed through dialogue and as a consequence seemed unnatural. (Yes, no-one in novels actually “talks” as in real life; but even so.) The mayhem count will please those who like that sort of thing though

Curiously a crime was “perpetuated” at one point but “perpetrate” was used later in an appropriate fashion. Compared to Final Days there was an increased span count of 5 here – though there was one “spun.”

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