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By Alastair Reynolds

Spearpoint, the final human urban, is an atmosphere-piercing spire of enormous dimension. Clinging to its epidermis are the zones, a sequence of semi-autonomous city-states, every one of which enjoys a unique - and rigidly enforced - point of know-how. Horsetown is pre-industrial; in Neon Heights they've got tv and electrical trains ...Following an infiltration challenge that went tragically fallacious, Quillon has been dwelling incognito, operating as a pathologist within the district morgue. but if a near-dead angel drops onto his dissecting desk, Quillon's global is wrenched aside yet another time, for the angel is a winged posthuman from Spearpoint's Celestial degrees - and with the loss of life physique comes undesirable information. If Quillon is to save lots of his existence, he needs to depart his domestic and trip into the chilly and adverse lands past Spearpoint's base, beginning an exile that would take him extra than he may perhaps ever think. yet there's way more at stake than simply Quillon's personal survival, for the proscribing applied sciences of the zones are decided now not by way of governments or police, yet through the very nature of truth - and truth itself is displaying caring indicators of instability ...

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They learn it for ethical counsel, convenience in the course of difficulty. now not as a veiled background lesson concerning the beginning of the area. ’ ‘And in the event that they did? ’ ‘They’d be deluding themselves. ’ ‘You sound really definite of that, medical professional. now not even a glimmer of doubt? Come now - you can’t be that close-minded. now not after every little thing that’s occurred lately. ’ ‘It’s only a undesirable hurricane, that’s all. ’ ‘And but the testomony says - and I’m quoting from reminiscence right here, so forgive me if I don’t get it precisely correct - “and in that point it's written that the strong shall come, those that stream the mountains and the skies, and the mark of the keepers of the gates of paradise will likely be upon them, and so they will probably be feared”. ’ He smiled, happy with himself, for it was once unquestionably a correct recollection. ‘The tectomancers, in different phrases. ’ ‘No one’s moved any mountains or skies that I’m conscious of. ’ ‘We’ll let a bit range for poetic interpretation. do not forget that the Testament’s been handed down via greater than 300 generations. Is it any ask yourself definite options were muddied? ’ ‘More than muddied, in case you inquire from me. ’ ‘So you don’t think in tectomancers, regardless of all of the scholarship on the contrary? ’ Quillon replied as in truth as he was once capable. ‘I think a few members have sure, very constrained keep watch over over the zones. If that makes me close-minded, so be it. ’ ‘I’m no longer asking you to open your brain to all demeanour of nonsense, medical professional, in basic terms to permit for the potential of stuff you may formerly have pushed aside, or didn't provide any attention to whatever. corresponding to the truth that the realm used to be now not constantly this fashion, and via implication doesn’t need to be this fashion sooner or later. ’ ‘If the realm used to be very different,’ Quillon acknowledged, ‘there wouldn’t inevitably be room in it for Swarm. ’ ‘Something that you just doubtless imagine should have escaped my cognizance. good, it hasn’t. fact to inform, physician, there’s really a goal to my scholarship. i've got an obligation to judge any hazard, any switch in situations, that will have an effect on Swarm and its citizenry. name it strategic pondering, when you needs to. it sort of feels to me axiomatic that you just can’t expect the longer term country of our international, less plan how you’re going to evolve to it, until you know the way the realm grew to become how it is. ’ ‘And the truth that you take pleasure in nosing via dusty previous maps and legends is fullyyt coincidental,’ Curtana acknowledged, with the long-suffering air of somebody who have been via related discussions extra instances than she cared to recollect. ‘A satisfied marriage of wish and necessity, that’s all,’ Ricasso stated. He checked out Quillon unfortunately. ‘I’m sorry, surgeon. My hopes have been raised. It’s now not your fault, in fact. ’ ‘About what? ’ ‘I was hoping it's possible you'll turn out an appropriate foil, a sympathetic ear for my extra outlandish principles. You’re set on your methods, although, and that i can infrequently fault you for that. medication is a hard and fast self-discipline; it calls for diligence, now not mind's eye. ’ Quillon didn't let the barb to rankle him. ‘Doctor Gambeson advised me you get pleasure from your conversations with him.

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