BOOK CLUB: The Saints of Salvation

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“The Saints of Salvation” by Peter F. Hamilton is the third in a sprawling science fiction saga. Readers of the earlier novels will fall on this with pleasure, finding a satisfactory conclusion to the story. Readers who try to enter the story here will probably spend a lot of time wondering what the heck is going on.

Please note it’s impossible to provide a plot summary for this novel without including some spoilers for the first two novels – although I’ll try to minimise them.

Earth has been invaded by the Olyix, an alien race which is on a quest to “collect” all intelligent races it comes across. The Olyix plan to take them to the end of time and present them to the Olyix’s god.

The human race has adopted a three pincered approach. Some humans are attacking the Olyix directly and immediately. Some have fled to establish worlds where they can breed and train humans specifically designed to battle the Olyix. And some have fled further, hoping to hide between the stars, and preserve the human race in hidden enclaves.

This is hard science fiction, with an extremely large cast spread over multiple timelines and multiple locations. And I don’t just mean different timelines for each group; I mean past and future too, which becomes increasingly complex as time moves faster or slower for different groups due to space travel and some neat manipulation of physics.

I have read the first novel in the trilogy (“Salvation”), but not the second. With this gap in my knowledge, I found it a little hard to keep track of some characters. I suspect that without the grounding of the first novel, I wouldn’t have had a clue who many people were, and the timelines would have left me completely confused. This is not a stand-alone novel; not only will you benefit significantly from starting with volume one, but you may also find this close to incomprehensible if you try to read it by itself.

Despite the large cast, Hamilton’s characters are distinctive, and I had no trouble recognising each as individuals. Some of the relationships were challenging to grasp, due mostly to not having read the second novel and the multiple timelines. It’s hard to keep track of who’s related to who. Not all of the humans are likeable, but most are empathetic and engaging. In particular, I found myself really involved in the quest of the “Saints” of the title – five humans who were among the first to grasp the threat, set out to deal with it very directly, and through a quirk of time became heroes of distant history while still on their mission.

The science is detailed and credible. I didn’t understand all of it, but then I didn’t try too hard either. Nevertheless, it adds important detail to the plot and underlined the strong worldbuilding.

Despite the complexity of the plot, the density of the science, and the sheer length of the novel, I found it quite an easy read. Hamilton’s prose flows smoothly, and engagement with the characters will have readers turning the pages.

This is excellent hard science fiction, entertaining but thought-provoking too. It provides a satisfactory conclusion to the main story, while leaving open the possibility of investigating this universe more in future novels. It is not, however, for readers who haven’t read at least one of the preceding two novels.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading The Saints of Salvation by Peter F. Hamilton. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

ISBN: 978-1509844647 / Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia

6 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Saints of Salvation

  1. The Saints of Salvation is the third and final book in Peter F. Hamilton’s Salvation sequence series.

    When it comes to books in a series I find you have to start from the first book, unfortunately I do not own or have read Salvation or Salvation Lost so I found this book quite difficult to get into with no understanding or concept how the storyline unfolds, it was very confusing but over time you do get a grasp of what is happening.
    There are a very large number of characters in the book including thousands of technical alien species and humans with plenty of technology and a brand new universe.

    It is the 23rd century and humanity finds itself up against the Olyix aliens, when they first arrived on earth humans welcomed them but were tricked, the Olyix pretended to be friendly and submissive to gain their trust. Humans traded energy sources for advanced technology systems then realised the Olyix had a crusade to harvest humans for their God at the End of Time. The aliens capture millions of humans to be sacrificed and have them cocooned whilst being transported in the Olyix’s arkships through the galaxy; cities are falling apart as the Olyix unleash their weaponry from their spaceships and no one is safe. As the alien invasion progresses many humans escape to seek refuge whilst others plan a mission of attack to save humanity. Do they stand a chance against alien invasion?

    This book is full of imagination, fast-paced and intense. For me it was a very long read and a struggle, I recommend reading the complete trilogy series in sequence for full enjoyment!!

    Thank you to Beauty & Lace and Pan Macmillan AU for the opportunity to read and review.

  2. The Saints of Salvation by noted sci-fi writer Peter F Hamilton, and published by Pan Macmillan, is the final book in The Salvation Sequence trilogy. It is not a stand alone book. It is the conclusion to a complex and detailed story and to fully appreciate it, really does require some knowledge of the previous two books. To try to overcome this I read short summaries/reviews of the previous books. But not having had the benefit of the two previous volumes I did find myself floundering at times. I am sure I missed a lot of the subtleties and sub-plots, and initially it was difficult to piece together what was going on. However after a few chapters I was able to work it out… I think.

    Set in the 23rd century the Earth has been besieged by the Olyix aliens, whose mission appears to be plundering the universe of intelligent life and presenting the cocooned, captive species (Humans included) to their god… at the end of time – a religious crusade of sorts!

    Earth has been devastated and millions have been killed,taken captive or fled seeking refuge in space. As the Olyix gradually and systematically take dominion over the entire galaxy’s star systems, a band of battle weary resistance fighters and escapees try to carry on…

    The Saints of Salvation is seriously heavy duty science fiction. I can completely understand why Peter F Hamilton is described as a writer of “space opera”. There are multiple characters, storylines and time jumps as well as epic battles, incredible technological advances and amazing science – all revealed in great detail. This is multi-layered world scene setting on a very grand scale!

    To me it had a real Star Trek flavour to it, boldly going where none have gone before whilst showing the indomitable human spirit! It was a very enjoyable, albeit heavy going read, sure to become a sci-fi fan favourite!

  3. The Saints Of Salvation written by Peter Hamilton is the third book in this series
    I have read the first book Salvation but not the second book,
    This book has many story lines over different times and a awful lot of characters which is easily confusing to the reader
    It is a long book but extremely well written and fast paced
    Peter Hamilton is certainly a master at writing science fiction

  4. The Saints of Salvation by Peter Hamilton is the 3rd in a series of fantasy science fiction with the characters facing world destruction and humans being systematically killed or taken away from Earth. Unfortunately for me I haven’t read the first 2 books thus it was a bit of a struggle understanding which character was which and then the timeline changes confused me further. The storyline itself is very interesting in the science fiction category with the use of a vivid imagination. I feel I would enjoy this book so much more had I read the first 2 in the series to really understand the layers written within the storyline.

  5. Wow, what an amazing book!

    Whilst this was the third book in the series (and I hadnt ready the previous two) it didnt take too long to get into the story (although I did find myself rereading several sections as the multitude of charactors, time lines and sub plots did take time to understand.

    The creativity of this author is inspiring and the detailed descriptions of charactors, battles (I particularly enjoyed these), races and event enhanced the story line rather than detracting from it.

    I would however caution readers not to simply start at book 3 but read the series in order (which I am about to do after ordering the first two books online) as this author deserves to have his books read in the order he intended. Whilst I will end up reading book 3 twice, I am excited to fill in the missing detail from the first two books and have no doubt that I will get more out of the second reading than the first.

    Thank you for exposing me to a brillant author!

  6. Peter Hamilton’s The Saints of Salvation is the third installment in an epic sci fi series about alien invasions, time paradox’s and the evolution of the human species.
    Having not read the first 2 in the series it took me a little bit to get into the rhythm of the book, but once there the ride was intense. The main characters are complex and endearingly human and their quest to save their fellow humans from the Olyix and the God at the end of time makes for a fast paced thrilling read.
    Time travel and paradox’s are interesting concepts and well written in this novel, and since I enjoyed this book so much I have recently purchased the first two in the series so I can start from the beginning.

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