By Gregory Benford

This 5th installment (after Tides of Light) in Benford's Galactic Center sequence, set millions of years sooner or later, unearths the remainder people from the planet Snowglade fleeing the genocidal Mechs within the spaceship Argo. because the vessel speeds towards the Galactic heart, the refugees verge on mutiny as nutrition turns into scarce, Mechs shut in and Captain Killeen grows ever extra made up our minds to find what lies on the middle. Even Killeen's adolescent son, Toby, starts to query his father's health for command, fairly whilst he discovers that his anxious method has been used as a repository for the talents and character of the captain's slain lover. in the meantime, unknown to the Argo's staff and passengers, bodiless, might be egoless, intelligences muse none-too-benignly at the motion to hand and whether or not they should still spoil the shipbound people as a part of their "ancient task" of wiping out humanity.
If the 1st 1/2 the narrative is a chase, the second one part is a discovery: an exploration of the universe that lies in the human center, in addition to a research of nonhuman beings and of the artifacts of house and time that Benford's fevered mind's eye has strewn via eons of human history.
The author's lovers won't be disillusioned with this tautly plotted access within the sequence, which by way of now has eclipsed even Asimov's Foundation saga in ambition, and which nonetheless has yet one more e-book to head.

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Sample text

There was a warning tone in Soneka’s inflection. Bronzi stopped what he was doing and looked around at his old friend. ’ ‘She was just being wary. ’ Bronzi shook his head. ‘Something’s up. ’ ‘My ace in the hole. If anything goes wrong, you’ll still know what I know. ’ ‘Nothing’s going to go wrong,’ said Soneka. Bronzi laughed. ’ ‘Enough to know that covering your arse is never a waste of time,’ Soneka replied. He shook his head. ’ ‘No,’ said Bronzi. ‘We’ve found ourselves in a war of lies, disguise and dissembling.

It formed part of the ‘noose’ that Lord Commander Namatjira was tightening around the enemy city. Hurtado Bronzi, a sixty-year veteran possessed of boundless charisma and a stocky body going to seed, leaned out of the billet doorway and took another deliberate stare along the red brick passageway. At the far end, where it opened out into a central courtyard, he could see the newcomer standing in conversation with Honen Mu and some of her aides. The newcomer was a big fellow, really big, a giant dressed in a dust-grey mail sleeve and a head shawl, with a soot-dulled bolter slung over his shoulder.

My ace in the hole. If anything goes wrong, you’ll still know what I know. ’ ‘Nothing’s going to go wrong,’ said Soneka. Bronzi laughed. ’ ‘Enough to know that covering your arse is never a waste of time,’ Soneka replied. He shook his head. ’ ‘No,’ said Bronzi. ‘We’ve found ourselves in a war of lies, disguise and dissembling. ’ Soneka didn’t look convinced. ‘Come on,’ Bronzi rumbled. ‘That’s why the Geno Five-Two has survived this long. We fight smart, we always have. ’ Bronzi winked. He wasn’t going to rise to the bait.

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