In Child of the River and Ancients of Days -- brilliant, visionary works of science fiction -- award-winning author Paul J. McAuley carefully exposed the intricately beautiful weave of Confluence, a war-torn and dying man-made world seeded with ten thousand genetically manipulated bloodlines. Now a terrible destiny is illuminated -- and the massive scope of the vanished Preservers' ancient dream is finally revealed -- in the concluding chapter of a masterful epic of god-playing, fate, and future,
Years before the birth of Yama -- the last descendant of the revered Builders who constructed the artificial world of Confluence -- humans appeared from out of the depths of time and space to tip its fragile balance. These were the Ancients of Days, ancestors of the long-absent Preservers themselves, carried forward across eons by the relativistic paradox of interstellar light-speed travel. What the Ancients of Days brought to Confluence was heresy and doubt, setting bloodline against bloodline, machine against machine, and igniting the terrible flames of civil war that still ravage the world.
Alone among all the living things that populate Confluence, Yama holds the power to end this war. Whichever side controls him controls the myriad machines of the world, Held captive and helpless, infected by the cruel consciousness of a great feral machine allied with the heretic cause, Yama is being forged into a weapon of terrible power and consequence.
Yet the unique fire that burns within him will not be extinguished, and, as Yama struggles to reclaim his soul, he realizes that the path he'd thought he was traveling freely may have been mapped since before his birth. And at the end of all things, should he accept his destiny or exert his free will?