But Earth's victory is fragile, and riven by vicious internal politics. While seeking out and trying to anatomise the strange gardens abandoned in place by the Outers' greatest genius, Avernus, the gene wizard Sri Hong-Owen is embroiled in the plots and counterplots of the family that employs her. The diplomat Loc Ifrahim soon discovers that profiting from victory isn't as easy as he thought. And on Earth, in Greater Brazil, the democratic traditions preserved and elaborated by the Outers have infected a population eager to escape the tyranny of the great families who rule them.
Meanwhile, in the outer reaches of the Solar System, a rag-taggle group of refugees struggle to preserve the last of the old ideals. And on Triton, fanatical members of a cabal prepare for a final battle that threatens to shatter the future of the human species.
After a conflict fought to contain the expansionist, posthuman ambitions of the Outers, the future is as uncertain as ever. Only one thing is clear. No one can escape the consequences of war -- especially the victors.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 102.
- Review Date: 2010-01-25
- Reviewer: Staff
In the outstanding second half of 2009’s The Quiet War, McAuley shows humans forced past their limitations. Armies from feudalistic, eco-fanatic Earth have overwhelmed freethinking settlements on the moons of Saturn and Jupiter, forcing refugees to flee to the outskirts of the solar system. Vistas of wonderful, desolate new worlds are populated by familiar, driven characters: Sri Hong-Owen, the brilliant but cold-blooded researcher obsessed with Outer genetic manipulation; a cloned, nameless spy seeking identity and love; hotshot space pilot Cash Baker, brainwashed and betrayed by his commanding officers; unscrupulous diplomat Loc Ifrahim, who will exploit any situation for personal profit; and renegade Earth ecologist Macy Minnot, who joins the Free Outers’ pilgrimage. Their interactions, struggles, and choices sketch a grand and sometimes appalling picture of human possibility. Together, these two books tell a magnificent story. (Mar.)