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Endymion(Hyperion Cantos, #3)
It is 274 years after the Fall and the universe is in choas. The WorldWeb, that interlinking of hundreds of human worlds via instantaneous farcaster ports, has been destroyed, and the separated worlds have reverted to nation-states, kingdoms, tribes, and clans. Into the vacuum of power left by the former Hegemony has stepped the Catholic Church and its civil/military wing, the Pax. Offering teachings of love, nonviolence, and the promise of literal immortality, the Church has only one threat to its undisputed reign: an eleven-year-old girl named Aenea.
Raul Endymion, onetime shepard and convicted murderer, is chosen as a pawn in a cosmic game whose outcome will determine the fate of humanity. Selected as a bodyguard to the next messiah, Endymion will cross time, space, and the very fabric of reality – first as protector to the child, then then as lover to the woman, and finally as her devoted disciple. Meanwhile, the formidable and mysterious Shrike – part monster, part killing machine, part avenging angel – has also followed the girl's pilgrimage to the 32nd century as both stalker and protector.
Yet it is Raul Endymion who has been chosen to rescue Aenea, against all odds, from the Pax troops. Together with the blue-skinned andriod A. Bettik, they will set out on a voyage back into the WorldWeb, across floating orbital forests and zero-gravity seas, beyond human space and into the future.
In Endymion, Dan Simmons resolves many of the long-unanswered questions set forth in Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion and poses provocative new mysteries yet to be solved. What is the nature of the AI Technocore and its final plan for humanity? Who of what "kidnapped" Old Earth a millennium ago? What is the orgin and true mission of the Shrike? And, most compelling of all, how will Aenea's message change the universe forever – if she is willing to speak it... and if humankind is prepard to hear it?