Second book in a spectacular trilogy. Reynolds is Brilliant. I loved these books. Revelation Space, Redemption Ark, and Absolution Gap. Read them.
There is also Chasm City which isn't part of the trilogy, but takes place in the same world.
Redemtion Ark is the second in the Revelation Space Series. Intricate plot and sub-plots. Exceedingly good character deveopment, and best of all, each chapter moves the plot along. No fillers. Be prepared to follow multiple plot lines through to the end of the series. Ranks up there with the Dune Books.
The middle part of Reynolds' excellent Revelation / Redemption / Absolution space opera trilogy races along with verve. As with its predecessor, it's chock-full of good ideas and excellent characterisation. A great read.
The second book in the trilogy of Revelation Space, Redemption Ark and Absolution Gap.
This is a hard science fiction story involving quite a few subplots, each of which would make a fine science fiction story all by itself. Unfortunately, each of those subplots simply fades away, eventually contributing nothing at all to the story. Midway through the first book, the pattern is already disappointly obvious, as the excellent subplots each dry up and are replaced with endlessly repetitive, soap opera-like personal dramas. Eventually, if you flounder through all the unnecessary drama of all three books, the ending is equally disappointing, as the main plot fades away to nothing, just like all the subplots did.
As hard science fiction, it could have been an excellent story, if simply told in a single novel and given a decent ending.