Taking up the story not long after the end of Foundation, this book covers the (psychohistorically) inevitable corruption that takes place as the government of Terminus, where the first Foundation is located, becomes lazy and corrupt. More interesting still is the advent of the Mule, whose abilities are beyond anything that Seldon forsaw.
I always remembered the idea of the Mule as a good one, and so was a bit surprised at how little is made of his powers in this book. Perhaps there's more to come in Second Foundation - I'll find out soon. But perhaps the essence of his story is all that's needed: the idea that someone could have the power to influence desires and ambitions and cause people who were hitherto his enemies to want to be loyal to him is intruiging.
While the previous book had the feeling of a series of puzzles which each had to be solved, this one felt like more of a single story, as the decay of the Foundation preceded the Mule, and then the Mule became stronger and stronger. Because I'd read it a couple of times before, the twist in the story wasn't a total shock, but it was still a good read.
Completed : 18-Jun-2006