"Humanity's complex relationship with technology spirals out of control in this first book of an all-new trilogy from "the owner of the most powerful imagination in science fiction" (Ken Follett). In 2204, humanity is expanding into the wider galaxy in leaps and bounds. Cutting-edge technology of linked jump gates has rendered most forms of transportation--including starships--virtually obsolete. Every place on earth, every distant planet humankind has settled, is now merely a step away from any other. And all seems wonderful--until a crashed alien spaceship of unknown origin is found on a newly-located world eighty-nine light years from Earth, carrying a cargo as strange as it is horrifying. To assess the potential of the threat a high-powered team is dispatched to investigate. But one of them may not be all they seem ... Bursting with tension and big ideas, this standalone series highlights the inventiveness of an author at the top of his game, as the interweaving story lines tell us not only how humanity arrived at this moment, but also the far-future consequences that spin off from it"-- Provided by publisher.