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Literature / Judas Unchained

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The sequel to Peter F. Hamilton's Pandora's Star, Judas Unchained completes the two-book series. Beware of Late Arrival Spoilers if you haven't read Pandora's Star yet.

After the devastating alien attacks recounted in the previous book, humanity struggles to recover and gain their footing. As evidence for Bradley Johansson's conspiracy theories mounts, powerful members of the Commonwealth including several point of view characters begin to search for the truth behind his seemingly preposterous claims.


These different plot threads include:

  • Paula Myo, losing standing despite her almost perfect record after botching several key operations, must try and suss out a leak within her trusted forces.
  • Ozzie Isaac's journey throughout the universe via the semi-mystical Silfen paths is made easier by the Silfen themselves aiding him.
  • Guerrilla warfare on planets occupied by the primes gets into full steam, using their own weapons against them.
  • Justine Burnelli must manage the complex Commonwealth politics while undergoing a natural pregnancy - almost unheard of for someone of her stature in these days where Uterine Replicators are commonplace.
  • Oscar Monroe and Wilson Kime manage the Commonwealth's new interstellar fleet, testing out new and dangerous superweapons while trying to find the wormhole the Primes are using to invade.
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  • Dudley Bose struggles with the idea that he was left behind at Dyson Alpha, while being dragged around by Mellanie Rescorai who is intent on revealing the Starflyer and getting into contact with the Guardians of Selfhood.

Contains examples of:

  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Ozzie finds that the barrier creators did this eventually, rendering them utterly useless.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: MorningLightMountain and the Starflyer.
    • It is implied that the Starflyer is another incarnation of MorningLightMountain. Of course, due to how the Primes work, this would still make them dire enemies if only MLM knew of the Starflyer.
  • Binary Suns: The planet Half Way, a midpoint stop before one goes to Far Away, orbits binary suns - one of them is a much smaller neutron star, and the solar wind at the lagrange point of these two suns powers the wormhole to Far Away.
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  • Bizarre Alien Biology: The Silfen life cycle is further elaborated on through Ozzie's exploits in the Dreaming Heavens. Though largely speculation, Ozzie thinks that the Silfen seen on the one Silfen world with a human colony are an early phase of their life-cycle, and they later go through other stages, through winged demon-esque creatures in the Dreaming Heavens to inevitably being uploaded into a sort of Silfen group mind.
  • The Bus Came Back: Morton, Mellanie's boyfriend from Pandora's Star was brought off his suspended state prison sentence to serve as a guerrilla fighter on Elan. Same deal with Rob, one of the people who helped with the failed assault on the Second Chance.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The nilling d-sink(battery with a stupidly large storage capacity) Justine stumbled across in Pandora's Star.
    • Ozzie mentioned during his exploration of the Silfen paths that while it is theoretically possible to create a wormhole with an exit point in the future, time travel to the past is impossible. Nigel later makes use of a future-wormhole to solve the massive refugee problem after the second Prime invasion.
  • Chrome Champion: Gore Burnelli has golden skin thanks to having his whole body etched with OC tattoos to give him maximum connectivity to the unisphere. His other inserts aren't too shabby either.
  • Cool Train: The blockade-breaker made by the Guardians of Selfhood to get back onto Far Away and deliver valuable cargo.
    • The Starflyer's train made to break through to Far Away, as well.
  • Cool Starship: The advanced stealth warships developed for the war, particularly the Charybdis and its sisters.
  • Depopulation Bomb: MorningLightMountain's corona-rupture flare bombs cause a star's magnetosphere to form into a funnel that directs radiation at a planet much like a massive stellar flare, sterilizing it while leaving the technology base and facilities unharmed.
    • However, since the flare bombs utilized in the prime invasion are destroyed swiftly, they only heavily irradiate one side of the planet - still necessitating evacuations (since they f*ck up the weather patterns), but not killing all life.
  • Dying as Yourself: Bruce, the Starflyer Assassin, has a brief moment of clarity after having his mind taken over, where he asks Gore to Mercy Kill him.
    Bruce: Do it. Kill the alien.
    Gore: Good for you, son.
  • ET Gave Us Wifi: Once we discover the Starflyer is real, it becomes apparent that it gave force fields to the Halgarth dynasty while reserving the most powerful tech for its own use.
  • Floating Island: More like reefs, but the Dreaming Heavens nebula was seeded with them to regulate it's atmosphere.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: Gradually disintegrates as the book approaches its climactic chase scene which involves most major characters, along with another, different climactic chase scene involving all the other characters.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: While defending Justine and his unborn grandchild, Gore's clothes get blasted off but his forcefield keeps his body safe. He doesn't slow down his attack, but later he complains about tabloids having pictures of him walking around with his dick hanging out.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: The Silfen trap Ozzie in one partially to troll him for snapping about his quest and partially to arrange to meet up with him.
  • Inspector Javert: Paula Myo has a physical and mental breakdown when she is forced to not arrest a man whose criminality she is certain of, in a direct Homage to the original Javert character.
  • La Résistance: Organized (rather ineffectively) by civilians on Elan, and then later augmented by government trained guerilla forces.
  • Mercy Kill: Bruce.
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever it was The Cat did to get herself sentenced to a thousand years in suspended animation.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: It's commendable that you were trying to lift your friends' spirits by telling them of your past exploits, Ozzie, but you really should have listened when Orion pointed out that your raft got caught in a floating island's gravity well.
  • Post-Victory Collapse: Mark Vernon suffers this after completing the final piece of engineering to power up the Charybdis, the first Sheldon Dynasty frigate, in the middle of the second Prime invasion. He has to be dragged to safety, completely unable to move after the stress and mental effort of the job.
  • Real After All: The Starflyer.
  • Space Amish: The Anomine split into those who used their incredibly advanced technology to transcend physical existence, and those who chose to remain behind on their homeworld and live simple lives.
  • That's No Cabbage: One planet has what are basically moon-sized alien cabbages orbiting it. A crack is made about aliens having a sense of humor.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The criminals pulled out of suspension and wetwired with weapons, particularly Morton.
  • Weather of War: Exaggerated with the Planet's Revenge