A monumental epic tale of space exploration and alien contact from one of science fiction’s greatest writers
In the future, humankind has taken only limited advantage of a miraculous gift left for it in the far-distant past. A beneficent and inscrutable alien race called the Others has provided “gates” that enable passage to all corners of the galaxy. But after the colonization of a single star system, a repressive government on Earth has forbidden all further explorations, seizing the returning starship Emissary and taking its crew captive along with an alien passenger the vessel encountered on its voyage.
A wealthy entrepreneur and off-world rebel incensed by the prevailing antiexpansionist politics, Daniel Brodersen decides to take matters into his own hands. Commandeering one of his company’s spaceships, he travels to Earth to pull off a daring rescue of the prisoners and the extraterrestrial Betan visitor, then rockets off with them to points unknown. But before long, a lack of proper preparation has left Brodersen, his crew, and his lover, the remarkable Caitlín Mulryan, irretrievably lost in the vastness of uncharted space—and their only hope of finding their way back home again will be in doing the seemingly impossible: making contact with humanity’s elusive ancient benefactors, the Others.