The Hugo Awardâ€“nominated novel by â€śa hard science fiction writer through and through and one of the very best alive.â€ť â€”The Globe and MailÂ Two months have past since a myriad of alien objects clenched about the Earth, screaming as they burned. The heavens have been silent sinceâ€”until a derelict space probe hears whispers from a distant comet. Something talks out there: but not to us. Who should we send to meet the alien, when the alien doesnâ€™t want to meet? Â Send a linguist with multiple-personality disorder and a biologist so spliced with machinery that he canâ€™t feel his own flesh. Send a pacifist warrior and a vampire recalled from the grave by the voodoo of paleogenetics. Send a man with half his mind gone since childhood. Send them to the edge of the solar system, praying you can trust such freaks and monsters with the fate of a world. You fear they may be more alien than the thing theyâ€™ve been sent to findâ€”but youâ€™d give anything for that to be true, if you knew what was waiting for them. . . .