Endymion is the first book in the second part of the Hyperion series. In it Dan Simmons takes up the story of Hyperion, some of the characters from the first series, and (of course) the Shrike some 200+ years after the first series.
Religion takes an even thicker role here than it did in Hyperion and The Fall Of Hyperion, and much of the story is a travelogue, with little in the way of explanation for why the characters are traveling where they are. In fact, they all just kind of accept apparently random travel for no good reason, which got on my nerves.
In truth, though, several things seem off here. First of all, Simmons takes some major departures from things he setup in the first Hyperion novels. Flinging aside major characters - like the new pope - with reckless abandon, and recasting events in new and entirely unexpected ways. Going so far, in fact, as to basically tell us that much of what we learned in the first two books was wrong, misleading, or outright lies told by characters there.
When combined with the oppressive presence of Catholicism and the seemingly pointless travels of the characters, it got a bit old, and I even considered putting it aside. In the end, though, a couple of minor characters - the Shrike and Nemes - kept me from doing so. Well, that and the fact that I was traveling and needed something to read where I was at the time.
Sadly, Simmons's main hero - Raul Endymion - is both boring and a bit dimwitted. I'd rather he'd focused more on Aenea or A. Bettik.
And yet again we have a cover featuring a two armed Shrike. Where was the editor during the process of getting these books out? Nonexistent, apparently.
I have some reservations - some of which may or may not be resolved by the final book in the series, The Rise Of Endymion, which I am reading now - but fans of Hyperion will probably want to read it.