cover image The Rise of Endymion

The Rise of Endymion

Dan Simmons. Spectra Books, $23.95 (592pp) ISBN 978-0-553-10652-7

Is the adolescent girl Aenea actually the new messiah? What is the real nature of that enigmatic killing machine, the Shrike? What are the renegade TechnoCore's true plans for humanity and the galaxy? What destiny will Raul Endymion find among the stars? All the questions are finally answered in this concluding fourth volume of Simmons's award-winning Hyperion saga (Endymion, etc.). The resurgence of the dying Catholic Church after it discovers how to resurrect the dead turns out to have even more significance than its leaders realize. The technological miracle of faster-than-light travel is shown to have a dark side that could destroy the universe. And nothing is what it seems to be. Because his plotting has been so complex in the previous Hyperion books and because his cast of characters has grown so large, Simmons is forced to devote considerable space simply to recounting and explicating past events. Also problematic is Aenea's explanation of her messianic purpose. Her few concrete initiatives, including stopping certain misuses of technology and instituting political and religious freedom across the galaxy, seem plausible. Her larger message, however--an argument for the existence of love as a physical component of the universe on a par with electromagnetism and gravity--never gains substance. Simmons veers from plot summary and vague philosophy to some well-crafted action sequences. Readers of the preceding Hyperion novels will want to find out how everything turns out, but this volume does not stand steady on its own. Author tour. (Aug.)