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Faster-than-light travel remains impossible near Earth, deep in the galaxy's Slow Zone--but physical laws relax in the surrounding Beyond. Outside that again is the Transcend, full of unguessable, godlike "Powers." When human meddling wakes an old Power, the Blight, this spreads like a wildfire mind virus that turns whole civilizations into its unthinking tools. And the half-mythical Countermeasure, if it exists, is lost with two human children on primitive Tines World.
Serious complications follow. One paranoid alien alliance blames humanity for the Blight and launches a genocidal strike. Pham Nuwen, the man who knows about Countermeasure, escapes this ruin in the spacecraft Out of Band--heading for more violence and treachery, with 500 warships soon in hot pursuit. On his destination world, the fascinating Tines are intelligent only in combination: named "individuals" are small packs of the doglike aliens. Primitive doesn't mean stupid, and opposed Tine leaders wheedle the young castaways for information about guns and radios. Low-tech war looms, with elaborately nested betrayals and schemes to seize Out of Band if it ever arrives. The tension becomes extreme... while half the Beyond debates the issues on galactic Usenet.
Vinge's climax is suitably mindboggling. This epic combines the flash and dazzle of old-style space opera with modern, polished thoughtfulness. Pham Nuwen also appears in the nifty prequel set 30,000 years earlier, A Deepness in the Sky. Both recommended. --David Langford, Amazon.co.uk
Loved the first half of this book, great concepts and well written, it just began to drag a bit towards the end. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Philip Harrison
The writing style reads as if written for teens. I know there are hundreds of positive reviews, and the friend who loaned it to me enjoyed the series. But I just don't get it. Read morePublished 8 days ago by R. A. Long
An overall enjoyable book. Interesting character development and world building going on. The book is a bit predictable and the ending is a bit a of a let down with this regard. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Amazon Customer
Great novel set in a universe on the scale of the the Uplift War series. Action packed all the way to the end.Published 26 days ago by Paul Skaggs
A lot of interesting ideas, but none of them fleshed out very much. Fascinating concept for an alien species (the dogs), but then they're written as "humans in funny... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Almost put it down. Characters were so uncharacteristically stupid. But it recovered. Perhaps predictable, but still enjoyable if less for the characters than for the imaginative... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Joseph S Hoff
This book is an exceptional beginning to a series that no SciFi fan should miss! The scope of the story extends beyond the galaxy and creative structure of the universe and it's... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jeff ATL