The novel “Salvation Lost” by Peter F. Hamilton was published for the first time in 2019. It’s the second novel in the Salvation Sequence and follows “Salvation“.
At the beginning of the 23rd century, the human species faces contacts with alien species of which one wants to help humans while the other has a hidden agenda that brings very serious consequences for humans and the invasion of the Earth is only the first consequence.
In the distant future, one of the human communities that spread out into space sets a trap for the enemy. However, the first to arrive are the ancient allies and in the same star system, another powerful entity is preparing to take action.
At last, the invasion began! The first book of the Salvation Sequence introduced important characters and plots in the two different periods, the second book finally tells the events that start the future of humanity. This means that the subplot set in the 23rd century tells about the invasion while the subplot set in the distant future tells about an attempted counterattack. This is the second part of a big story that must be read in its entirety.
The structure of “Salvation Lost” is simplified compared to that of “Salvation” in the sense that Peter F. Hamilton has already explored in the first book the protagonists’ personal stories and he used them also to describe the human civilization at the beginning of the 23rd century and in the distant future. Mysteries connected to contacts with aliens that were developed in the first book have been unveiled, so the author can address some important events in an explicit way.
The middle book of a trilogy can be problematic because it has no real beginning and no real end but in this case, the second book can be said to tell the real beginning of the two parallel stories. Sometimes, the first book felt like it was stretched with all the protagonists’ personal stories just to have enough material to create a trilogy. The second book, on the other hand, doesn’t have all those digressions, and this helps to make the narrative flow much better.
The construction of the two periods of the future made in the first book was crucial but the feeling that the second book generated in me is definitely of greater enthusiasm. With a narrative more focused on events that are easy to perceive as really important, you can feel the tension much more. The reactions of humans after the invasion begins and in the development of the counterattack plan offer a wide range of emotions. It’s not only the action that brings all this but also the strategies of the various parties involved in the development of the various clashes with the invaders.
Peter F. Hamilton always offers different points of view and in “Salvation Lost” a subplot tells the “deeds” of a group of criminals who normally deal with scams but ended up in the middle of the attack on the Earth. They’re in some ways anti-heroes whose story shows that the dark sides of the Earth’s society in the 23rd century remained more or less the same as in today’s Western society.
All of this creates a novel of the kind you expect from Peter F. Hamilton, with lots of action and twists in a very technological setting. In this case, very advanced technologies are already present in the subplot set in the 23rd century and even more so in the one set in the distant future. “Salvation Lost” is the second novel of a trilogy, so it too ends with important events that will be developed in its sequel. For this reason, a global judgment can only be given at the end of the Salvation Sequence but I saw a marked improvement in the management of the subplots compared to the first book.