The Void trilogy brought us the captivating idea of an area of the galaxy that has different properties than the rest, a place where electricity and electronics don't work well, but people have psychic abilities. Also steampunk heroes that fight the system and have superpowers.
Well, The Abyss Beyond Dreams is also set in the Void, but on another planet. It starts with Nigel and Paula discovering the cache of telepathic recording of "Edeard's dreams" and Peter F. Hamilton makes fun of his own work by having Nigel tear up at the end of consuming them because it was such an exact hero's journey. I understand Hamilton's embarrassment as I remember reading the books and waiting impatiently for the hard sciency part of the book to finish so I can see what Edeard was up to, which is the opposite of what I normally do.
Anyway, Nigel goes into the Void to mess it up, as it engulfs more and more of the galaxy to fuel its function, and he arrives on a planet in an early industrial stage of development and that is ruled by a bureaucratic government. So he encourages a Trotsky-like movement in order to reach his goals.
To me the book was very entertaining, I've read it in a few days, and I also think is one of the good Hamilton books. It's not hard to spot the logical errors in it. I saw clearly how he wanted to create a new story, this time examining other aspects of human psychology and sociology by dissecting a socialist revolution, and so he paid less attention to other sides of it. But it's a book, a hard science fantasy story! It is not perfect and still pretty cool.
I also liked that the two parts of this story, one being this book, the other A Night Without Stars, were almost standalone, with different characters doing things in different ages. The ending of the book is abrupt as it usually is with PFH, but not as jarring as other of his books, nor ending in a terrible cliffhanger, nor like the end of the second book... :) And this time it's not a trilogy, but a duology. Hurrah for self contained stories!
Bottom line: good read, I didn't realize how much I was missing reading some of Peter F's stories until I started reading this.