Publication Date: October 28, 2008
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Their first act was the Discontinuity, in which Earth was carved into sections from different eras of history, restitched into a patchwork world, and renamed Mir. Mir's inhabitants included such notables as Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, and United Nations peacekeeper Bisesa Dutt. For reasons unknown to her, Bisesa entered into communication with an alien artifact of inscrutable purpose and godlike power-a power that eventually returned her to Earth. There, she played an instrumental role in humanity's race against time to stop a doomsday event: a massive solar storm triggered by the alien Firstborn designed to eradicate all life from the planet. That fate was averted at an inconceivable price. Now, twenty-seven years later, the Firstborn are back.
This time, they are pulling no punches: They have sent a "quantum bomb." Speeding toward Earth, it is a device that human scientists can barely comprehend, that cannot be stopped or destroyed-and one that will obliterate Earth.
Bisesa's desperate quest for answers sends her first to Mars and then to Mir, which is itself threatened with extinction. The end seems inevitable. But as shocking new insights emerge into the nature of the Firstborn and their chilling plans for mankind, an unexpected ally appears from light-years away.
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Stephen Baxter is an acclaimed, multiple-award-winning author whose many books include the Xeelee sequence, the Time Odyssey novels (written with Arthur C. Clarke), The Time Ships, a sequel to H. G. Wells's The Time Machine, and The Wheel of Ice, a Doctor Who novel. He lives in Northumberland.