Mindstar Rising is the first book featuring the psychic detective Greg Mandel. It's set in England during the first half of the Twenty First century, a time when the greenhouse effect has taken hold and produced radical changes to the climate. England has altered beyond recognition after enduring ten years of a hard-Left government little short of outright dictatorship, food shortages, a bankrupt economy, and industrial collapse. A global energy crisis has left few cars running on a decaying road network, jets have been replaced by more environmentally-sound airships, and the information culture bandwidth is approaching infinity. Companies own huge factory ships that they anchor in international waters to churn out pirated products which are smuggled ashore, untaxed and unregulated.
     But now things are starting to recover. Water levels have reached their peak, people in the old temperate zones are learning to live with the heat. National economies are recovering, and for the companies that can adapt and restructure, the rewards are limitless.
     At the head of England's industrial renaissance is the giant Event Horizon company, owned by Philip Evans. A maverick billionaire with only a short time left to live; whose teenage granddaughter, Julia, is the sole heir to his fortune.      When sabotage is discovered in Event Horizon's orbital factories they call in Greg Mandel to expose the organisation behind it. A veteran of the Army's Mindstar brigade, he's been implanted with a biotechnology gland that can induce psi faculties. As a living lie detector, locating the disloyal employees should be an easy task for him.
     However, the deeper he digs into the murky world of corporate politics, the more complex and dangerous the case becomes. Rogue financiers, old enemies, lethal hardware, and treacherous loyalties ultimately combine to threaten the world's fragile new stability.

     Set two years after the events of Mindstar Rising, A Quantum Murder has the hallmarks of classic whodunit fiction; starting one dark and stormy night in an English country mansion where the old owner is brutally murdered. The victim is professor Edward Kitchener, a noble physics laureate. There can only be six suspects, the students locked in the house with him. Naturally they protest their innocence.
     Julia Evans calls in Greg Mandel to solve the case. Kitchener was working on some radical technology for Event Horizon, so she needs to know fast who killed him, and why.
     Appointed over the heads of resentful local police, Greg has to sift through conflicting strands of evidence to find the killer. His psi ability shows that none of the suspects could have killed Kitchener. While a new type of psi that is Kitchener's legacy reveals exactly who did. The paradox leads Greg to a confrontation with an old adversary from a past with according to Kitchener's theories might never exist.

     The Nano Flower takes place a further fifteen years on. With the world now firmly out of the recession that plagued the warming years, life has settled down to a quieter, more prosperous pace. Clean energy sources have reinvigorated the global economy. Asteroids shunted into Earth orbit are mined for their mineral resources. Democracy has returned to most countries. And strong Strategic Defence alliances safeguard nations from the possibility of sneak attack.
     Into this placid equation comes a strange flower. Delivered mysteriously to Julia Evans, it has alien genes millions of years in advance of terrestrial DNA. At the same time, hints of a fabulous new technology begin to spread through the corporate security agencies. Its origin: unknown. Whoever is the first to acquire it will have the power to dominate the planet, both in industrial and military terms.
     Believing the two to be linked, Julia calls Greg out of retirement to track down whoever sent her the flower. It's been a long time since he did this kind of work, and the new generation of security agents and mercenaries no longer play by the old rules. His search becomes a desperate race against a vicious killer, backed by an arms dealer every bit as rich and as powerful as Julia.
     Zig-zagging across the globe in hypersonic aircraft from decadent Monaco to the simple farming colonies set up in the wake of Greenland's melting glaciers, Greg encounters a jaded old merchant and his odd son, a courtesan who's playing her own duplicitous game, and a crime syndicate that have extended their reach far beyond Earth. All of them draw him inexorably to a meeting with an entity that will decide the fate of two species.

   The Greg Mandel books are often called a trilogy. They're not, in the purest sense. True they feature the same central characters each time, but I've deliberately set them apart. They can be read in any order, although read consecutively they should give a view into how Greg's world evolves and develops over the seventeen year timespan he and Julia deal with their various problems. Is that important? Well… One of the aspects of science fiction I enjoy the most is providing valid background details that hang together (as anyone reading the Night's Dawn series might have noticed). To make a world believable, it has to exist beyond the windows of the rooms through which the writer moves his characters. If not, all you have is a clever plot idea acted out on a barren stage.
     A genuine living breathing world has this depth of background. There are elections being held, petty disputes, quirky methods of transport, superstar antics splashed by the media, whatever. None of them necessarily impacting directly on the plot, but there to add substance to the places Greg visits. And in this case, providing a way of exploring one of my favourite themes: the way change is implemented by society. Looking at the way we live, and the kind of things that will alter that. By following Greg over seventeen years I've tried to illustrate how one small radical item, the giga-conductor, can alter the whole world; not just physically, but socially. A clear case of technology replacing ideology as the engine of change.

     One last word on Greg. I keep getting asked if I'm going to write another book about him. I happen to think that the Nano Flower finished things rather neatly; or as one critic put it: the noise of loose ends being tied up is almost deafening. However, there is a file with notes on a novella set just after A Quantum Murder. I'm not going to drag him out of his well-deserved retirement yet again, but if I ever have the time I might look at his earlier life.

PETER F. HAMILTON

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