Peter F. Hamilton's The Dreaming Void
As I reported at the beginning of the year, bestselling author Peter F. Hamilton's The Dreaming Void is scheduled for publication this month, whereupon it'll no doubt be snatched up by his legion of fans. Here's a preview: It's the start of a new series, set in the same universe as Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained, but as Hamilton explained via email, "it's not a direct sequel. The novel begins about 1,200 years after the events of Judas Unchained. So it features a whole new set of problems, but given rejuvenation and memory downloading technologies have been perfected, some of the old characters are still around, though in a much changed form." Hamilton says "evolving the technology and societies was the most enjoyable part. It was fun making really big leaps of possibilities, yet still keeping the Commonwealth recognizably human."
As for the characters, Hamilton liked writing Edeard, whose story forms half the book. "He lives in a quasi-medieval world, yet with SF overtones. People who've read it have commented on how close to straight fantasy it is, which is something of a departure for me."
Fans of his earlier books should really enjoy The Dreaming Void, but if you're new to Hamilton's work, this is also a good place to start, as the book stands alone.