Cover by Jim Burns
In the distant future, corporations have become sustainable communities with their own militaries, and corporate goals have essentially replaced political ideology. On a youthful, rebellious impulse, Lawrence joined the military of a corporation that he now recognizes to be ruthless and exploitative. His only hope for escape is to earn enough money to buy his place in a better corporation. When his platoon is sent to a distant colony to quell a local resistance effort, it seems like a stroke of amazing fortune, and Lawrence plans to rob the colony of their fabled gemstone, the Fallen Dragon, to get the money he needs. However, he soon discovers that the Fallen Dragon is not a gemstone at all, but an alien life form that the local colonists have been protecting since it crashed in their area. Now, Lawrence has to decide if he will steal the alien to exploit the use of its inherent biotechnical processes -- which far exceed anything humans are capable of -- or if he will help the Resistance get the alien home.
Hamilton is one of the British authors who I have been anxious to read. Instead of starting one of his multi-book epics, I thought this would be a good one to try since it is a stand alone novel.
Something I have slowly come to realize is that it is okay for me to not like a book. It is even okay if I don't particularly like the writing of an author. This was harder for me to accept than it should be.
Hamilton crafted a well written novel. Technically, I can appreciate his writing skill but for some reason I just did not connect with this story.
If the above summary sounds good, give it a try. Hamilton's work is well loved by many readers. But I did not get involved in the story enough to like it. I will give him one more try with one of his epic length series (probably Pandora's Star). If I have the same response to it, I will take him off the list of authors I follow. Trust me, there are enough other writers to keep me reading for the rest of my life.