A novel of a savage future war, perfect for fans of Alastair Reynolds and Peter F. Hamilton.
Humanity's future rests on the shoulders of a Child from the past, and she must never know of the battles being fought for her ...
In the system of Fomalhaut, a war is being fought. The Quicks came long ago, refugees from the Solar System. The True arrived later, to find a declining civilisation and a system ripe for the taking. Then the Ghosts appeared, no longer human, unknowable, powerful and determined to drive out the Quick and the True. The battle continues, but the outcome is uncertain.
Three lives will intersect, because there is something at the centre of their universe, something dangerous and growing and powerful. Something that is worth fighting for. And it will change everybody's life.
McCauley demonstrates his talent for complex and imaginative storytelling in this superior space opera set in the 22nd century, the third in his Quiet War series (after 2009's Gardens of the Sun). One of the main threads concerns an unnamed child growing up in Brazil; she's an enigmatic figure, a brilliant autodidact with a taste for genetic engineering, who's being prepared by an unnamed, omniscient tutor for the war that lies ahead of her. A second narrative presents a quest for redemption by Isak Sixsmith, a librarian, whose lapses on a data-restoration assignment cost the lives of some colleagues. The third focuses on Ori, a pilot stationed on the huge space station known as the Whale, whose life changes after she witnesses something unusual. The prose can be dense at times, and the plots demand close reading; McCauley packs in so much information that it's easy for readers to get confused if their attention strays for even half a page.