Ten thousand years after Creation Machine The Spin is in decline. The boundaries of the formerly prosperous Inside have shrunk to a mere eleven planets, their trade routes are cut off, and all they have left to sell is the service of their vast industrial slave-colony – The Hive.
Then a group of Hivers escape. Led by Seldyan, they steal the last remaining legacy battleship, reverse the trance that has been imposed on it for eight thousand years, and head for the free colony of Web City. There, they realise all is not well – a new green star has appeared in the sky, sparking a socially repressive cult which is quickly taking over, leading Seldyan to wonder if Web City is any improvement on the Hive.
At the same time Harbour Master Hevalansa Vess, stripped of his role after the loss of the last ship, has his identity changed and is sent in to the Hive under cover to find out how Seldyan escaped. Wired into the living AI called the Mind Stack, he is forced to confront both his own past, and the institutionalised cruelty of the hierarchy he has been part of.
While Seldyan and her crew try to discover what has caused the new green star, Vess must choose between loyalty to the system that has promoted him, and his sympathy for the mass of people it treats as slaves. He must also work out how far he trusts Vut, the gestalt insect entity that increasingly represents his contact with the Inside.
Meanwhile the ancient ship, now with full access to its memories, has worked out the meaning of the green star for itself – and the existential threat to the Spin that it has been concealing for ten thousand years...
Born in 1965, Andrew Bannister grew up in Cornwall. He studied Geology at Imperial College and went to work in the North Sea before becoming an Environmental Consultant. For the day job, he specialises in green transport and corporate sustainability, but he has always written - initially for student newspapers and fanzines before moving on, encouraged by creative writing courses, to fiction. He's always been a reader and has loved science fiction since childhood. From the classics of the 50s and 60s to the present day, he's wanted it all: space, stars, astonishment and adventure - and now he's discovered that writing it is even better. Andrew lives in Leicestershire.