In the aftermath of an interstellar war an enigmatic star is discovered, travelling towards the Solar System from the galactic core. Its appearance adds a new and dangerous factor in the turbulent politics of the inhabited worlds as the rival factions - the power-holders of the ReUnited Nations, the rebels who secretly oppose their power, and the Religious Witnesses - all see advantages to be gained.
But what awesome technology started the star on its journey half a million years ago - and why?
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With this, his third novel, Paul J. McAuley stopped being merely promising and entered the front rank of British SF authors. The galactic backdrop already visited in his earlier books Four Hundred Billion Stars and Secret Harmonies here opens out at huge and exhilarating scale. Our galaxy is infested with quarrelling factions of the irrationally hostile alien Alea, against whose colonies the crumbling and partly decadent human Federation wages a depressing, genocidal war of self-defence. Now an anomalous star travelling at daunting speed has arrived from the galactic core and offers rapid wormhole transit to the centre--where ambitious Alea are building the most gigantic habitats in SF, hyperstructures light-years across. This project's use of energies from outside the universe endangers the cosmos: "Something is rubbing the fabric of space-time thin enough to allow creation to shine through." Only pure mathematical weaponry supplied by advanced "angels" from a fractal reality can stop the unravelling of space. But the ramshackle human mission to the core is beset by strife, religious fanaticism, greed and mutiny, and looks set for bloody failure even before the Alea unleash their own superweapon. A rich, crowded novel that combines exotic descriptions, slam-bang action and a mind-blowing secret history of the universe. -- David LangfordBook Description:
Ambitious ideas-driven space opera from the stylistic master of British SF.
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