Well, here it is. The final installment in 'The Night's Dawn Trilogy'. We've got about 1200 hundred pages to resolve an amazing amount of events which only escalated in the previous novel, so there's a lot of ground to be covered.
We start off with Earth, where Quinn is hell-bent (nice pun, eh?) on preparing the world for the return of God's Brother, and his long-awaited revenge on Banneth. We're also introduced to Banneth for the first time, and boy is this a doozy. Although she doesn't get much volume devoted to her, Hamilton put a lot of thought into her character. What she does get paints her as degenerate and calculating. An interesting mix. There's also a nasty little surprise Hamilton has in store for us, which throws our entire faith in humanity for a little spin. Very nicely done.
Elsewhere, the good General Hiltch is leading the Liberation for Mortonridge. It's a sloppy affair, and although largely successful, there's quite a few unexpected developments; confusing at times, enlightening at others. The book starts to show it's length here, (and also with Valisk) by losing a little of the pace set in the previous installments. Still, it's not boring, by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, the early parts of Mortonridge have some of the most fast-paced action in the series.
As previously mentioned, Valisk still has some dimensional problems, and now it's being stalked by life-sucking entities, the Orgathe. Some interesting material here, but it seems like a little too much might have been devoted to Dariat and crew.
The Organization is picking up the pace of events rapidly, starting to simply seed planets. They finally launch a masterstroke at the Confederate Navy, one which can bring only the most dire of repercussions. Finally, the good guys get some of their own back.
And of course, we have the enigmatic Captain Calvert, searching for the legendary Sleeping God. Of course, his journey will be everything except for easy. First he has Etchells, the fanatical Hellhawk to deal with. And not only the Tyrathca, but another race, an ancient enemy, desperate for escape, who have the only knowledge of the Sleeping God. Lagrange or no, he's got his work cut out for him.
One of the best things about 'The Naked God' is the insight it gives us into alien races. The Kiint are explored in depth here, and we're given some very startling revelations about them. Also, at the end of the book, their solution to the reality dysfunction is mentioned in passing. All very interesting. There's also some fascinating information on the Tyrathca, courtesy of Calvert and his search for the Sleeping God. Hamilton show's a depth he's avoided for the xenoc species, and it makes for some very welcome reading. In addition to these two races, we also meet a few others throughout the course of the novel. It's a welcome change, and tries to add a little justification to the ending.
Speaking of which, it's pretty disappointing. After the meticiioulus detail paid to all other events in the series, the ending seems to be just a throwaway. In fact, the entire problem of de-posession gets solved in a few sentences. After all the effort spent entrenching this as a catastrophe, and all the effort spent researching a solution, the end seemed to almost trivialize parts of the series. Still, one can't really complain. That's really the only thing wrong with the book, and it's not to much of a problem. There were several smaller climaxes prior to the ending, and all it really does is cap off close to 4000 pages of unrelenting action.
To wrap up, an altogether stunning series. 'The Night's Dawn Series' is a welcome addition to sci-fi, a wonderful symphony in the finest tradition of space opera. Still, if this wasn't enough for you, be sure to pick up a copy of 'A Second Chance at Eden', a collection of short stories set in the same universe. Hats off to Pete Hamilton for writing a winner.