This densely plotted book concludes the futuristic tale begun in Hyperion . Earth has long since been destroyed, and humans now occupy more than 150 worlds linked by the Web, an instantaneous travel system created and operated by artificial intelligences (AIs--self-aware, highly advanced computers). These worlds are about to war with the Ousters, a branch of humanity that has disdained dependency on the AIs. At risk are the planet Hyperion, its mysterious Tombs that travel backward in time, and the Shrike, its god/avatar of pain or retribution. The narrative focuses on the government of the Web and its leader, Meina Gladstone, as observed by Joseph Severn, a cybernetic re-creation of the poet John Keats, and seven Shrike pilgrims, who may affect the war's outcome. Simmons pits good against evil, with the religions of man and those of the machines battling for supremacy. Despite his grand scale, however, he fashions intensely human individuals whom the reader will take to heart. ( Mar. )
While the worlds of the Hegemony fight a deperate war in space against the Ouster rebels who threaten galactic unity, a group of seven pilgrims on the planet Hyperion wage their own war within the Tombs of Time, a mysterious artifact which conceals a hideous creature whose freedom means death for humanity. In this sequel to Hyperion , Simmons weaves together many strands of a complex plot with lucidity and poetic imagination. Recommended.