The Rise of Endymion
Reviewed: November 15, 2002
By: Dan Simmons
Publisher: Bantam Spectra
709 Pages, $8.99
The Rise of Endymion brings to a close
the four book sequence that began with Hyperion
and The Fall of Hyperion and
continued, five years later, with Endymion
and finally, this book. The good news about this hefty future history is that
you donít have to begin at the beginning. The two sets of two volumes begin and
end quite satisfactorily by themselves. What you need to know about the
Hyperion books is recapped in the Endymion set. I caution you, though, if you
read the last two books you will want to go back and read the others.
Endymion is an ex-soldier, sometime outfitter, shepherd and convicted murderer
when we first meet him. In Endymion
he is recruited to be the bodyguard of Aenea, a orphan of time, the unlikely
union of a human woman and the android clone of John Keats (yes, the poet).
Aenea has been wafted through one of the long defunct star gates that used to
connect the far-flung worlds of humanity, snatched up and sent 274 years into
her future, where she is viewed by some as the agent of prophecy, some as a
kind of messiah, and some (mostly the organized Church) see her as a demon.
is the Church, though its military arm of the Pax, that is waiting when Aenea
emerges from the Time Tombs on the planet for which Raul is named. It is Raul
who spirits her away while the Shrike, the terrible spiked automaton who
follows her as a protector, wreaks havoc amongst the ships of the Pax, sowing
the first seeds of doubt in the mind of Father-Captain De Soya.
we left Endymion we knew that Raul
would eventually be captured, for we knew that he was dictating these memoirs
from his tiny orbiting prison. We also knew that, somehow, Aenea had been able
to read his writings and had left him a message. So we ended on a note of hope.
Rise picks up the story years before
Raul was imprisoned, after a period of relative calm when he and Aenea lived
quietly on Earth, an Earth that everyone believed to have been destroyed
centuries before during the great war between humanity and its machines. The
time has come for Aenea, now a young woman, to begin her ministry to humanity.
human race has been given immortality, you see. Intimate communion with an
alien parasite known as the cruciform guarantees immortality for any human with
the cross shaped implant on his or her chest. Unless the body is vaporized it
can be restored, with memories and soul intact. It is a miracle controlled by
the Church, which uses it as a powerful incentive to religious conversion.
Those who donít convert are left to the military arm. Humans who have adapted
to life on other planets or in space by evolving their physical forms have been
classified as demons and are sought out by the ships of the Pax Command, manned
by soldiers who know that they will die from the killing force of the
acceleration on each mission only to be brought back at their destinations.
no one knows is that the human race has been manipulated into assisting the
Artificial Intelligences against whom once they warred. A secret pact between
the Vatican (relocated, of course) and the AIs has all cruciform bearing humans
wired into place as components in a massive galactic computer which taps the
primal forces of creation. As the number of adherents grows to a critical mass,
there is a danger of universal destruction.
it seems, is where Aenea comes in. I canít tell you how, though. Iíve tried to
find a way to write around her purpose without giving it all away, and I
havenít had any luck at it. Itís all part of how Raul manages his Monte
Cristo-like escape from his prison, how he managed to narrate parts of the
novel from other peoplesí points of view, the secret of where Aenea spent the
two years that he wasnít with her, who the ďlions, the tigers and the bearsĒ
are, and even a little bit about the role of the enigmatic Shrike.
was a very satisfying conclusion to the saga and, according to Simmons in a
recent Locus interview, his last
novel-length word on the subject. The books have sold well and heís already
been offered, and rejected, a large advance for another pair of novels. For
now, he seems to have turned in another direction completely, having turned in
two thrillers and two private eye novels since he finished with Raulís
adventures. My son refers to him as the guy who can write anything. So far,
thatís turned out to be true.