When learning how to plot a story, one of the common pieces of advice I’ve read is to create a likeable character and kick the crap out of them. Make their life miserable. Throw them to the ground and keep pounding. In Fallen Dragon, Peter Hamilton takes protagonist abuse to a whole new level. I’ve never felt so bad for a character as I have for poor Lawrence Newton. Couple that with a great story and scifi military action, and you have one of my favourite novels of all time.