Redemption Ark is another brilliant effort by Alastair Reynolds, who has previously wowed the science fiction world with his award-winning books Revelation Space and Chasm City. All the acclaim stems from the fact that Reynolds has an amazing
ability to blend artful characterization with inventive science fact and fiction and throw in enough humanity and humor to make it fascinating.
Redemption Ark takes place toward the end of the twenty-sixth century-and surprisingly mankind has managed to keep advancing. As usual, though, that is a double-edged sword, because humanity's advances have managed to inadvertently trigger the Inhibitors.
It is fifty years later, and the alien killing machines are on the way. Their purpose is to find intelligent life and destroy it.
Facing annihilation, humanity’s one hope is the recovery of a secret cache of doomsday weapons. There is only one man brave enough or stupid enough to try to find them: Clavain. Unfortunately, there are others who want the weapons for less than altruistic purposes. Yet another problem is that these particular weapons have their own ideas about how they should be utilized.
There is plenty of action and suspense throughout the book. The plot is well woven and stays on course. The characters are fully fleshed out, and their dialogue is realistic. The settings are well described - readers feel as if they are indeed five centuries in the future. With the premise of "something’s coming to destroy the world hey hey and only one man will stand and fight to save it," this novel could easily have become just a rehash of tired old pap. However, Alastair Reynolds took a predictable story line and shook it up, populated it with creative characters, and leads readers on a merry chase to an unpredictable and satisfying conclusion.
Redemption Ark is well-written and imminently readable. Consider this a recommendation: read this book if you have an appreciation of science fiction of the highest caliber. Be on the lookout for more work by Reynolds - he will become a fixture in the sci-fi novel world.