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'The Rise of Endymion' by Dan Simmons (London, Headline Book Publishing, 1997)

Dan Simmons brings in this new novel his Hyperion saga to a triumphant conclusion. His first novel Hyperion won 3 awards: the 1990 Hugo Award, the 1990 locus award for Best Science Fiction Novel and the Prix Cosmos 2000. The sequel The Fall of Hyperion won the 1991 British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Novel.

The first novel was enacted in the twenty-ninth century in which the universe is ruled by the Hegemony and the TechnoCore and which is under threat by the Ousters. Seven pilgrims set forth on a final voyage to the Time Tombs on Hyperion, home to the Shrike, a lethal creature, part god and part killing machine, whose powers transcend the limits of time and space. This novel is a frame-story in which each pilgrim shares his story with his fellows.

The second, The Fall of Hyperion, describes the opening of the Time Tombs and the same threat by the Ousters to the Hegemony of Man: a thousand worlds linked by a network of farcaster portals and high-tech gateways. The AI's -Artificial Intelligences whose synthetic wisdom created and maintains the nets that bind the Hegemony- have become a threat. Something is drawing the Hegemony, the AI's, the Ousters towards the Shrike and the Time Tombs...

The third novel, Endymion, is the story of Raul Endymion more than two centuries further in time than Hyperion. The farcasters are dead and the Church and the Pax are dominant now. He describes his travels with the One Who Teaches, Aenea, the child from one of the Pilgrims Brawne Lamia and a cybrid. They travel through several worlds chased by the Pax. Endymion has promised to bring Aenea in safety, bring down the Pax and the Church, get rid of the Shrike and bring back Old Earth. The fulfilling of these promises come true both in Endymion and The Rise of Endymion.

This last book is so good; everything is explained and it all fits so well in the general story-line.
The friendship between the main characters is real and it gives the story a certain human touch to it. You just can't read this book on its own, you must read the other 3 books in order to understand everything and that is why I gave a summary of the other ones. I think this brillant series earn the same status as for example 'The Lord of the Rings' by Tolkien. The author has succeeded in creating a credible other world, he has paid attention to the necessary details and the qualities of character of the principal figures, especially Raul. I just can't stress it enough: you MUST read it, for it is a real masterpiece!