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The Prefect

The Prefect

Written by Alastair Reynolds

Narrated by John Lee


The Prefect

Written by Alastair Reynolds

Narrated by John Lee

ratings:
4.5/5 (78 ratings)
Length:
19 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Feb 28, 2011
ISBN:
9781400179619
Format:
Audiobook

Description

Tom Dreyfus is a Prefect, a law enforcement officer with the Panoply. His beat is the multifaceted utopian society of the Glitter Band, that vast swirl of space habitats orbiting the planet Yellowstone, the teeming hub of a human interstellar empire spanning many worlds.



His current case: investigating a murderous attack against one of the habitats that left 900 people dead, a crime that appalls even a hardened cop like Dreyfus. But then his investigation uncovers something far more serious than mass slaughter-a covert plot by an enigmatic entity who seeks nothing less than total control of the Glitter Band.



Before long, the Panoply detectives are fighting against something worse than tyranny, in a struggle that will lead to more devastation and more death. And Dreyfus will discover that to save what is precious, you may have to destroy it.
Publisher:
Released:
Feb 28, 2011
ISBN:
9781400179619
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

Alastair Reynolds was born in Barry, South Wales, in 1966. He studied at Newcastle and St. Andrews Universities and has a PhD in astronomy. He stopped working as an astrophysicist for the European Space Agency to become a full-time writer. Reynolds is a bestselling author and has been awarded the British Science Fiction award, along with being shortlisted for the Hugo Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Award, and the Locus Award.


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What people think about The Prefect

4.5
78 ratings / 22 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    I loved this book. Great characters, great science fiction, and ultimately a murder mystery. There was one plot point with Battlestar Galactica security that annoyed me but not enough to ruin the story. You do not need to read any other books in the series to read this book. It stands alone.
  • (5/5)
    well plotted . believable characters. suspenseful. leaves you wanting more.
  • (3/5)
    Reynolds is a truly gifted science fiction writer with a vast and stunning vision of distant future humanity. Unfortunately Prefect is not his best work but seems cobbled together from disparate elements in his toolbox.
  • (4/5)
    This 2007 police procedural novel by Alastair Reynolds (reissued under the title 'Aurora Rising' in 2018, which I'm afraid to say is something of a spoiler) is set in his 'Revelation Space' universe, but was a stand-alone novel, up to the publication of the sequel, 'Elysium Fire', that same year.This is wide-screen Baroque science fiction, as Brian Aldiss once said. Although Reynolds' universe sticks fairly closely to the rules of Einsteinian relativity - no faster-than-light drives here - he lets his imagination completely take over when it comes to the details of the universe. The result is pure 'Doc' Smith stuff, but well-written and with quite well-drawn characters.Tom Dreyfuss, the 'Prefect' of the title, is a sort of policeman in the space surrounding a settled planet, Yellowstone, orbiting Epsilon Eridani. The space around Yellowstone has become the location of ten thousand artificial habitats, known as the Glitter Band (because when viewed from afar, they make a band that's all glittery. Well, it probably seemed like a reasonable joke when he first thought up the series). Dreyfuss investigates the destruction of one particular habitat in what at first looks like a trade negotiation gone very sour; but events keep ramping up, old events and cold cases keep popping up out of the woodwork to slot into place in the story, and before long we are in a crisis of rampaging robots, underhand traitors and scheming villains. The atmosphere is distinctly post-human, with people's cybernetic enhancements playing a part in the whole.As I said, this novel is a stand-alone (although a sequel was probably always a possibility as one of the villains... well, figure it out yourselves). It will help if you've read some of the other novels, but only for background. Expository lumps are slipped into the mixture fairly painlessly.I was a little taken aback to find myself identifying with some of the ancillary characters; Dreyfuss and his fellow Prefects are a little Central Casting (despite one of them being a genetically-enhanced hyperpig) but nonetheless reasonably well filled out. Even disposable walk-ons, such as witnesses, are quite well drawn. In this, Reynolds far outdoes 'Doc' Smith in the quality of his writing. The style is otherwise fairly straightforward but gives a good sense of what was unfolding in the author's own imagination.The ending seems a little rushed; in particular, one faction of post-humans, the Ultras, who had initially been blamed for the first crime and then exonerated, are called upon to render assistance during the crisis, which they do (in a rather effective scene) towards the end of the book; yet after bringing them back into the plot, Reynolds then does nothing with them, which struck me as a bit of a let-down. But otherwise, the action stuff is all there, with exotic weaponry and plenty of whizzing to and fro in cool spaceships; and just when you think things are about to head for some sort of resolution - even if that resolution is some way off, we get the sense that it's just a matter of working out the details - the action gets turned up another notch.Anyone who says "They don't write them like they used to" needs to read this.
  • (4/5)
    Loved the dramatic twists and turns that kept the story fresh and always eager to thrash through a new angle. I'm a little disappointed at the ending, but I suppose that's primarily due to personal bias and being spoofed the idea of a climactic showdown with the villain as a requirement to a satisfying ending. Overall fantastic book, fun to listen too, narrator gives a good range of tones, voices, and inflections.
  • (3/5)
    My first foray into the daunting sprawling world of Alastair Reynolds. I thought I'd try a space-based detective story: more my style than hard sci-fi.
    The story opened like a Baz Luhrmann extravaganza of weird and exotic but did settle down quite briskly once the milieu had been established. It did take a long time to get into the teeth of the story - it read about 30% of my kindle before I felt the story got moving.
    For the most part the story moves well, has several layers and kept me reading, but some of the character behaviours a tad cliche, as if the effort had gone into the World-building.
    I felt somewhat let down by the ending, which after a long build-up, the main events seemed to happen off-stage, and then end rather abruptly.
    A solid 3.5 star book.
  • (4/5)
    Another good tale from Reynolds. I'm pretty biased when it comes to his stuff, but I will note that this was the first story where I felt his dialogue was set a little to closely to contemporary time. Language evolves rather quickly. So when one is writing a tale that happens over centuries it's a little hard to swallow language that's exactly the same as we use today. The were cliched phrases and a few bad words that seemed jarring when they came along in the text. Still, nothing to make me dislike the book. Keep em coming.
  • (4/5)
    Set in the time of The Glitter Band, but we all know what is looming... This book is a nice introduction to new characters & habitats in the Revelation Space universe, and hauntingly, one or two older characters too.
    Plenty of multi-layered action, plots and imagery (the weevils strewing into space) and the main characters not too rigidly perfect to be believable
  • (2/5)
    “A starship built around a single massive engine designed to suck in interstellar hydrogen and use it for reaction mass. Because it didn’t have to carry its own fuel around, it could go almost as fast as it liked, right up to the edge of light-speed.”In “The Prefect” by Alastair ReynoldsSo you're happy about a 900-year old alien driving a ship that looks like a police box that can travel through time and is larger on the inside than on the outside towing an entire planet across the universe, but some people are annoyed because it didn't shake enough? Seriously, I can never understand why SF readers get so picky over the stuff they are prepared to suspend their disbelief over. Either you're going to reject the whole damn thing, or you should accept it all, I say. Having said that, while accepting the initial fantastic premises of this book, I'm happy for it to bend basic physics, but not to slit its throat and urinate on the corpse. To take the earth-towing scene again; where's the sense of threat to humanity if, in the end, it can survive cataclysmic events like being pulled across the universe, with only basic refurbishing needed? The basic rule of thumb about suspension of disbelief applies to all fiction, not just SF: anything is acceptable as a premise, but once the premise is in place, you have to follow through as realistically as possible. In other words, you start with a “What If”..., and the “What If” can be completely insane - e.g. What If the CIA invented a non-existent agent to distract the KGB, and then the KGB mistook a real person for that agent. But once you established the crazy “What If”, you can't just add other bits of craziness to get your hero out of tricky situations. Though this is madness, yet there is method in it, and Reynolds is the absolute master of the form. What else? Ah yes. It’s oversaturated with all kind of fancy stuff.
  • (4/5)
    I loved seeing more of the Glitter Band in this, and the stuff about the Clockmaker was lovely. There could have been more resolution, though.
  • (4/5)
    Good hard sci-fi - as much a galactic detective story as future but a good read
  • (4/5)
    I've read many of Reynold's books, but not all of them. Some have been a bit weaker recently, but I have to say with this one, I thought Reynold's knocked it out of the park. A book that started out as something that I thought would be a basic investigation drama in space, turned into a much bigger story, with a wider scope than expected.The story follows Prefect Tom Dreyfus as he investigates a crime, that leads to unexpected consequences. This may be part of another story, that I didn't read the first part of, but it did not detract from my enjoyment of it at all. If you enjoy your SF with a bit of mystery thrown in, along with some very large stakes being played with while character development is to the fore, then I would say that this will be a great read for you...
  • (4/5)
    I got this book because an article about Iain M Banks said "if you like him then you'll like Alastair Reynolds". They were right. This is space opera - a detective story set in space. It's full of mind-boggling concepts, like people who live on inside machines after their death.
  • (4/5)
    Well crafted sci-fi thriller.
  • (4/5)
    This novel is set in the Glitter Band space habitats/Yellowstone planet locale of previous novels. The prefect is Tom Dreyfus, a policeman for the Panopoly and indefatigable seeker after the truth. He fixes a voting irregularity in one habitat, sends a deputy to fix another voting irregularity in four habitats and starts to unravel why a ship crewed by distrusted body-morphers known as Ultras destroyed a small space habitat using its space drive. The unravelling makes up the main thread of the story, taking in a homicidal computer replica of a long-dead woman, a asteroid containing a hidden spaceship of the Borg-like Cojoiners, a malign computer intelligence built using the mind of a dead explorer of alien relics, a traitor and a cabal in the Panopoly itself and a dastardly plan to save the Glitter Band by enslaving it. Dreyfus, his 'hyperpig' sidekick and his deputy all acquit themselves well. For all the invention present, the core plot is rather textbook and the good guys beat the bad ones as expected. Nothing, not even a revelation from his past, diverts Dreyfus from his ordained role.
  • (4/5)
    Alastair Reynolds treats us to a far-future police procedural in the Glitter Band, the ring of ten thousand habitats orbiting the planet Yellowstone in the Epsilon Eridani system, and gives us a good look at how his future direct-democratic government called demarchy works.The story follows the investigations of Thalia Ng— a specialist in the voting technology that makes demarchy work— and her boss, Tom Dreyfus, a seasoned field prefect with a strong dedication to follow justice no matter where it leads. As they separately deal with a bug fix to centuries-old voting code and the mysterious destruction of an obscure orbital habitat, they uncover problems related to the troubled history of the development of artificial intelligence technology.Like the rest of the Revelation Space books, this one is fairly dark; the tale stands well on its own, and should be a good read for people who have not previously read Reynolds’ work.
  • (4/5)
    A great story set in Revelation Space.
  • (4/5)
    A standalone police procedural crime novel set in Alistair's amazing and intruguing Revalation Space universe. It is worth and probably necessary to have read the preceding books which give a sense of the issues involved. Chronologically this is set within the Revalation Space, the Glitter band is still operative, although Dan's mission has launched towards the Shrouder clouds. There are many familiar names which crop up in the other books. Drefus is a Prefect of the Panopoly 'police' force - the only overreaching authority within the Glitter band, their remit is the preservation of democratic voting rights, all else falls to internal Habitat control. When a Habitat is destroyed! witht he loss of all 960 lives aboard, Drefus is called to expand his normal role and investigate the obvious and not-so-obvious leads. His deputies Thalia Ng and the Hyperpig Spavier assist as best they can with the routine running of voting control, unil it becomes apparant that not all is quite as it seems.This is another thrilling and entertaining excursion from Alistair Reynolds, it's major downside is that it doesn't really feature any of the exciting and novel technological possabilities that marked his previous work. It does feature a continuation and expansion of the those he's previously introduced, but there is nothing new. However this doesn't detract from the wonders of the universe, the quandries of the characters or the twists in the plot that make this an enjoyable read.
  • (5/5)
    I have loved Alastair Reynolds fiction since his first book Revelation Space, but my favorite book of his is Chasm City. This book takes place around the same planet, Yellowstone, but in the Glitter Band, a circular parking orbit of ten thousand different habitats. The habitats have ten thousand different cultures as long as every person has the right to vote. And the Panoply enforces this right to vote.When a smaller habitat is destroyed and a minor computer bug fix turns into a major computer incursion, Senior Field Agent Dreyfuss slowly realizes that there is a sinister AI behind these events that is determined to take over the entire Glitter Band. The descriptions of the various habitat cultures are inventive. The mysteries are compelling and the action is headlong. I especially like the secondary characters with their own hidden strengths. My only caveat is that the human antagonist escapes too easily at the end and sets up an unwarranted confrontation with Dreyfuss. I am definitely putting this excellent book on my short list for the Hugos.
  • (5/5)
    If you haven't read any Alastair Reynolds books go and read Revelation Space, one of the best science fiction novels ever.This novel returns us to that fictional universe, and so pleased was I at the prospect I bought this in hardback. Obviously it's not as good, but it's a great tale, excellently told, and both Aurora and the Clockmaker are adversaries worthy of the name.
  • (4/5)
    Slightly disappointing. While it's great to see a return to the Revelation Space universe, this book doesn't quite have the epic scale of Redemption Ark or Absolution nor the gritty, focussed narrative of Chasm City. It's more predictable than the other books in the series and concentrates more on neat concepts and imagery rather than plot. Still, an engrossing read nonetheless.
  • (4/5)
    Solid Reynolds. A prequel to the REVELATION SPACE series and a good place to start reading. Doesn't deliver the same (high) sense of wonder as the later volumes in the series. It's hard to like the Panoply -- a government whose symbol is the clenched fist. Also, although the cultural background is "Canasian", and it's contrasted from the preceding "Americano", it doesn't seem much different.