It's the eve of the 22nd century and the beginning of the end. Humanity splinters into strange new forms with every heartbeat: hive-minds coalesce, rapture-stricken, speaking in tongues; soldiers forgo consciousness for combat efficiency; a nightmare human subspecies has been genetically resurrected; half the population has retreated into the ersatz security of a virtual environment called Heaven. And it's all under surveillance by an alien presence that refuses to reveal itself. Daniel Bruks has turned his back on it all, taking refuge in the Oregon desert. As an unaugmented, baseline human he's an irrelevance, a living fossil for whom extinction beckons. But he's about to find himself an unwilling pilgrim on a voyage to the heart of the solar system that will bring the fractured remnants of mankind to the biggest evolutionary breakpoint since the origin of thought. 'If you only read one science fiction novel this year, make it this one!... it puts the whole of the rest of the genre in the shade... It deserves to walk away with the Clarke, the Hugo, the Nebula, the BSFA, and pretty much any other genre award for which it's eligible. It's off the scale... F**king awesome!' Richard Morgan. 'State-of-the-art science fiction: smart, dark and it grabs you by the throat from page one' Neal asher.