I usually like to start these reviews with a quick flavour of the plot, a bit like a back-jacket blurb. But this book doesn't stick in my mind for its plot. There is one -- it's a parallel story of a mother searching for her son on a high-tech foreign world, and of the son searching for a way out of the high-tech problems he's got himself into. But after reading it, I'm left with a picture of the very high-tech world, and not a lot else. The characters, although certainly well-drawn, are totally overshadowed by all the marvellous tech.
Despite the massive amount of world-building, there is hardly any info-dumping at all. We learn about the tech through the story. And there's oodles of it -- the upraised Luculenti with their built-in computers, the Pilots and their fractal vision, the femto-bio-tech, the smartatoms, all weaved into the plot with throw-away lines. This is how it should be done -- showing, not telling. Book like this are the reason I read SF.
Amazingly enough, this is a first novel. I'm not saying there are no problems -- there are a few guns on walls at the start that have failed to go off by the end, but mostly everything is under control. I hope Meaney's later novels can keep up this excellent standard.
War is coming.
Only a few can see the darkness, and fewer still have the strength to resist it. Hidden at the centre of the Universe, the darkness spreads its tendrils throughout space and time.
For the darkness knows that when it makes its final invasion of our space, humanity will stand against it.
And in the far far futre, knowing that they are the last hope for the galaxy, the Ragnarok council is forming…