If I’m completely honest, I expected this book to fail miserably. After the feeling of utter astonishment at the brilliance of the first two novels in the Hyperion Cantos, how could the follow-up novels remotely compare?
Thankfully, this first one was excellent. Simmons solved part of the problem by fast forwarding almost 300 years into the even further future and starting from there. As with the first two novels, Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion, this novel is told from someone who is simultaneously outside (looking back) and inside of the story, essentially revolving around them. The novel’s opening definitely put me on guard and I was very worried that I wouldn’t see any of the characters from the previous novels, but we already knew the technology existed to extend life well beyond a normal lifespan and thankfully some came back!
Endymion definitely didn’t have the impact as the first two novels, but I’m starting to appreciate the technology of the novels, as the importance increased throughout the novel. I also appreciated the return to “pilgrimage” even though this time it was more along the line of fleeing refugees. Raul Endymion, the titular character, Aenea, foretold in the first two novels as the one who teaches, and the return of A. Bettik (among other returners YAY!) complete the main triune, maybe – there has to be something about the three of them. They travel the old river, Tethys, which went via faracaster (portals) to hundreds of worlds, and the ONLY worlds they visit are abandoned either a the Fall (end of Hyperion) or have since been abandoned. We do find out what happened to the abandoned worlds’ inhabitants in the next book and WHOA.
Most fascinating about the novel was the politics and the religion. Simmons swings the universe in the far opposite direction of the Hegemony, no longer materialist and wantonly exorbitant the interplanetary government now consists of the Pax and the reinvigorated Catholic church. I’d go into all the details, but many are just now being revealed in the fourth and final novel The Rise of Endymion, so I won’t. Suffice to say that it’s fascinating and those manipulating the Hegemony, or a branch of them, are most definitely manipulating/controlling/leading the Pax.
I remain amazed at Simmons ability to write this type of novel while simultaneously including literary, philosophical and religious references, among others. The research required, or the sheer knowledge base, is astounding!
Recommendation: I would definitely recommend the entire Hyperion Cantos. As I said I was afraid at first that these wouldn’t be as successful, but they’ve been different enough while simultaneously referencing enough of the old to keep me interested. I can’t wait to finish the series.
Opening Line: “You are reading this for the wrong reason.”
Closing Line: “For now, my love, I wish you sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.” (Whited out.)