The Detective's Tale is about Brawne Lamia. She is a detective that becomes a bodyguard to one of the clients in her story. Don't worry...it does relate to the Shrike just as each story does! The Detective's Tale was more cyber punk-y than the other ones. Reading it reminded me a little of the beginning of Neal Stephenson's, The Diamond Age and the movie A.I. (with Haley Joel Osment). At times it was a little difficult to read because of my limited science fiction technology knowledge, but overall I really enjoyed it. It also brought a little bit of a biblical savior type story to the book which I found interesting. Dan Simmons weaves religion into the book in an interesting way.
The Consul's Tale was the last tale of the book. This tale was supposed to answer all our questions right?!! Wrong! It answered some, left some unanswered, and left me with a smile on my face. The Consul's Tale tells a relationship with a woman, dolphins that speak with humans, and a rebel war. All I can say after I finished The Consul's Tale was that now I need to read the next book in the series.
I think my book club is going to be upset with me for choosing this book because there isn't a neat end to it. Who knows though. They may love it. Time will tell! I really enjoyed it overall. It was one of the better science fiction books I've read (although I haven't read very many). I like that Dan Simmons was so versatile that he was able to write very distinct tales with relative ease. I really liked the character development and the progression of the story. I definitely recommend it any science fiction reader. It might be a little much if you are wanting to try out the science fiction genre, but it's still a great read.