Written by Peter F. Hamilton.
Narrated by John Lee.
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
Lawrence Newton was antsy as a child on the colony world of Amethi where his womanizing board member father, Doug Newton, rode him mercilessly with humiliation and sarcasm to become a carbon copy of himself. All Lawrence wanted for himself was to explore the stars. Lawrence thought he was coming around to his Dad’s image in his teens after meeting Rosalyn at a resort and falling madly in love and bed with her. Discovering two years later that Dad had set that up, with money, set him off on an impulsive rage to go to Earth and work for the competition-Zantiu-Braun.
ZB dangled star flight academy in front of Lawrence to coax him into Security for twenty years. Twenty years of ground pounding, interstellar piracy and never getting the break he wanted to become a starship pilot. That is until he pulled off a mission for the Resistance on Thallspring during an “Asset Realization Operation” for ZB.
I think is may be one of my favorite works thus far from this author. The story was never dull and the delivery was really awesome. Five stars for the story and four for the delivery. Four and a half overall. Well done.