WEFOUNDThe Promise of the Child (Amaranthine Spectrum 1)


So what is The Promise of the Child about? It’s certainly created a buzz, with lots of rumblings above the usual created by the publicity machine that this is the debut of something and someone extraordinary.

Well, it’s a Space Opera. Nothing particularly new there, you might think. Peter F Hamilton, Neal Asher, Iain M Banks – there’s a fair bit of it about.

Part I of the novel is a rather fragmented amalgam of the different places and characters that we will get to know more of in the progress of the plot.  There’s the reluctant hero, Lycaste, who initially tries to live a quiet and secluded life. There’s also big nasty space warriors that seems to have been propelled from the pages of a Warhammer 40 000 novel, master political schemers, and a pretender to the throne. Threen Corphuso Trohilat  is the magician of our story, an architect and owner of the Shell, an ultimate weapon capable of mass destruction that has been captured (with Corphuso) and is being transported by the Prism.

So what is The Promise of the Child about? It’s certainly created a buzz, with lots of rumblings above the usual created by the publicity machine that this is the debut of something and someone extraordinary.

Well, it’s a Space Opera. Nothing particularly new there, you might think. Peter F Hamilton, Neal Asher, Iain M Banks – there’s a fair bit of it about.

Part I of the novel is a rather fragmented amalgam of the different places and characters that we will get to know more of in the progress of the plot.  There’s the reluctant hero, Lycaste, who initially tries to live a quiet and secluded life. There’s also big nasty space warriors that seems to have been propelled from the pages of a Warhammer 40 000 novel, master political schemers, and a pretender to the throne. Threen Corphuso Trohilat  is the magician of our story, an architect and owner of the Shell, an ultimate weapon capable of mass destruction that has been captured (with Corphuso) and is being transported by the Prism.

Tom Toner is a new writer, and as usual in such cases, the editor and advance readers find plenty of other writers to compare him to. Iain M. Banks’s Culture novels (three times), Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series, Michael Moorcock’s Dancers at the End of Time, David Mitchell, Alastair Reynolds, Gene Wolfe, Jack Vance and are all invoked, while Will McIntosh and Adam Roberts tell us that it’s space opera like no other!

The book’s title comes from Ovid, through Lycaste’s father, and Lycaste applies it to his own shortcomings: “How little is the promise of the child fulfilled in the man.” But we know from the very first part of the prologue, when we apparently glimpsed the Pretender in 14th century Prague, that there was another child of great promise whom he took under his wing, away back then. Will the next book clear up all these puzzles? As this is Volume One of a trilogy called The Amarinthine Spectrum , I suspect that Volume Two will make things still more complicated.


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