Ian Cormac, Agent of the Polity, has been gridlinked for 30 years now, and is in danger of losing his humanity. So he unlinks from the constant data source, and is thrown back on his own resources. His boss decides to send him off on a mission to discover how one of the Polity's interplanetary matter transmitters exploded. At first Cormac thinks this might be make-work, to give him time to readjust, but with a homicidal terrorist bent on revenge on his trail, and an enigmatic super-powerful alien somehow involved, it's anything but make-work.
I found this curiously bland. It could be partly intentional, since Cormac is only slowly regaining his ability to empathise with humans. There's a lot going on here, in a potentially rich and interesting universe, with AIs, aliens, androids, and all, yet it failed to grab me. Maybe it's because the terrorist leader has to be made so one-dimensionally evil to make the fascist, AI-dominated, all-controlling, mind-wiping Polity look like the good guys. And after all the buildup with the pursuit, the super-powerful android, and the alien motivation, the ending rather fizzled out.