The second book in the Hyperion Cantos, and the direct sequel to the book Hyperion. From what I can gather the next two books are more spin-offs and far sequels, so my plan is to wait on those a little. We begin in the fallout of the first book, which is mostly told in storytelling and flashback. Hyperion is a mystical planet with a godlike creature on it that if captured, beaten in battle, or wooed can grant a wish.
In the first book, several travelers, called pilgrims, are coming and going to Hyperion in order to gain that wish for their own ends (of varying amount of selfishness).
In this second book, we get the continuation of this story, but widely expanded. Humanity, contained within hegemonic consortium is in significant danger from an outside attack. Destruction seems imminent, and perhaps only the wishes of one of the pilgrim can save them. This creates the need to maintain control of the planet but also opens them up in other ways. The novel also focuses the AI that was once a construct of the poet John Keats, but now has shifted. This construct also holds some important role in the possible war, but this remains locked.
It’s hard to fully explain everything that is going on here, but the scope is gigantic, and there’s a scene in which some fallout is described and it’s one of the most horrible things I’ve ever read in a book. It’s a truly momentous work, but because it’s wild and trippy at the same time, it can only be recommended.
I do have to mention it’s one of the most self-serious series I’ve read too. So be warned.