Book: Dark Light

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Dark Light

Series: Book 2 of The Engines of Light
Author: Ken MacLeod
Publisher: Tor Books

Intelligence, it turns out, is rare—on planetary surfaces. It thrives everywhere else, from the Oort-cloud fringes of star systems to the magma furnaces beneath planetary crusts. And among the most powerful of the galaxy’s intelligences, there are profound differences of opinion about how to deal with surface life-forms such as human beings.

For, untold light years from Earth, the powers that rule the universe have been, for millennia, plucking humans (and other intelligent beings) from Earth and forcibly resettling them in a number of star systems close to one another, leaving them to develop on their own. A few generations ago, a small cadre of humans from Earth’s 21st century arrived in this “Second Sphere” on their own power—the first humans ever to do so. Their descendants have formed the “Cosmonaut” class that dominates Mingulay. Now, two hundred years later, Gregor Cairns and a small group of associates have rediscovered faster-than-light travel and traveled to the star system next door. They’re determined to find more of the original, mysteriously long-lived cosmonauts. They want answers. And for those answers, they intend to interrogate the gods.


With his sharp, fast-paced, challenging novel Dark Light (sequel to the Prometheus Award-nominated Cosmonaut Keep in the Engines of Light series), Ken MacLeod reaffirms why he is science fiction’s hottest new writer at the turn of the millennium.

From the days of the dinosaurs, mysterious aliens have been transporting earthly life forms across the galaxy to the worlds of the Second Sphere. Here, the descendants of humans abducted from the Stone Age and from colonial America coexist with dinosaurs—and with the saurs, their intelligent descendants, who are technologically superior to the humans. This arrangement is disturbed by the arrival of nearly immortal (but far from indestructible) humans from 21st-century Earth—men like Matt Cairns, who have no desire to let the secret of interstellar flight remain in the hands of the inscrutable, almost godlike aliens.

In addition to the Engines of Light series, MacLeod has written the Fall Revolution quartet: The Cassini Division (a Nebula Award and Arthur C. Clarke Award finalist); The Star Fraction (a Prometheus Award winner); The Stone Canal (also a Prometheus Award winner); and The Sky Road (a Hugo Award finalist and recipient of the British SF Association Award). —Cynthia Ward

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