I've never read anything by Egan before, so I didn't know what to expect. Well, I'll be looking out for him in future. Teranesia is the name for a Malaysian island given by Prabir, the son of two Indian biologists trying to uncover the secrets of genetic mutation in a population of butterflies. Set against continued political trouble in the region into the next decade, the story relates the personal guilt and anguish that Prabir, a nine year old boy who successfully escapes the island with his baby sister, carries with him into his thirties. By the end of the novel, the roles are reversed: young sister manages to save older brother and whisk him from the island, this time from a far more dreadful threat than that of air-delivered mines. As Prabir and his sister, Mudhusree, travel back to the island the butterflies are made to speak their ugly truth. Bascially, a gene capable of reading all the quantum histories of possible mutations has taken root on the island and that means it anticipates its own evolution. And survives. Just like the two central characters whose frail and battered humanity emerges all the more strong for that. This is surely how science fiction should be written - a grand idea wrapped in the grander enigmas of being human. Even if at times the characterisation can get a little overbearing, the relationships between characters a little trite, Egan weaves us a tale about guilt which will only fail to reach the most unfeeling of androids. Simply superb.