Gregory Benfords takes his time to develop belivable characters. It's interesting to learn to know persons in a distant future where Mechs hunts humans as pests in their vast machineries. The humans keep in touch with history through aspects and faces (chips with personalities of long ancestors). In this story a small band of humans arrive at new planet where the mechs have been overun by cyborgs. Featuring a cosmic string, a philosof cyborg, a group of human led by a messias figure and more. Hints of a greater plan are revealed. I really look forward to read the sequel.
From the incredible Great Sky River, this book continues the story of Killeen, now a leader who must get his people to the promised spot, though he still doesn't quite know why. They are on an old human ship that was unearthed and allowed to take off in the last novel, heading to the center of the galaxy. Along the way, they encounter an insect-like race that has much more in common with mankind than meets the eye.
This book is full of scientific detail that I followed more or less. As other reviewers note, it contains a cosmic string that has been harnessed by the insectoids to harvest the resources of entire planets. Their common enemy is the machine intelligences, which have a vast web of outposts throughout the galaxy, tolerating organics at best, hunting them brutally at worst.
There is no doubt that this is fun, but unfortunately I couldn't leave behind my sense that someone was making this up - I couldn't suspend my disbelief, which I most definitely could in the previous volumes. In spite of many interesting character developments, there is a rushed feeling to this book, as if the concepts are beginning to be more important than the plot. The characters seemed more flimsy, easier to label, and the story line obscure and simply strange. I was barely able to finish this and the subsequent 2 novels, where it is all supposed to come together, were only skim books from which I wanted to find what happened without any particular magic or felling that belonged exclusively to this as, for want of a better term, a work of art.
REcommended, but only for those invested in the series.