Some people lambast this book because of 'too much technobabble' or 'characters without depth'. I would have to disagree. I picked up this book whilst browsing through a bookstore and by the time I got to the end of the third page I was hooked!
A book which starts (yes, STARTS) with every person on a backward planet being given anything they want (food, universal assemblers, physical / neurological augmentations, eternal youth etc etc) lays the backdrop for a delicious peek into the human psyche.
The story itself would be mediocre if it were not for two things - (a) the backdrop of the universe, where a Vingian-style Singularity has occurred with the resulting transcendent (both physically as well as temporally) entity (the Eschaton) has relocated most of humanity on various worlds and (b) the depiction of the main characters, who have pasts, dreams, hopes, fears and to whom it is quite easy / comfortable to relate.
A slow start, but the plot ramps up until the end. Well worth reading!