In the last years of the Forerunner empire, chaos rules. The Flood -- a horrifying shape-changing parasite -- has arrived in force, aided by unexpected allies. Internal strife within the ecumene has desperately weakened Forerunner defences. Too little, too late, the legal rate of Juridicals is only w investigating possible crimes by the Master Builder and others. Evidence-gathering agents, kwn collectively as Catalog, have been dispatched to collect testimony from the Librarian and both Didacts: the Ur-Didact, treacherously abandoned in a Flood-infested system, and the Bornstellar Didact, who accompanies the Librarian as she preserves specimens against the dire possibility of Hal extermination. Facing the imminent collapse of their civilization, the Librarian and Ur-Didact reveal what they kw about the relationship between the long-vanished Precursors and the Flood. The Precursors created many techlogical species, including humanity and the Forerunners. But the roots of the Flood may be found in an act of ermous barbarity, carried out beyond our galaxy ten million years before. Because of that barbarism, a greater evil looms. Only the Ur-Didact and the Librarian -- husband and wife pushed into desperate conflict -- hold the keys to a solution. Facing the consequences of a mythic tragedy, one of them must w commit the greatest atrocity of all time -- to prevent an insane evil from dominating the entire universe.
Greg Bear is the author of more than thirty books of science fiction and fantasy. He is married to Astrid Anderson Bear and is the father of Erik and Alexandra. Awarded two Hugos and five Nebulas for his fiction and one of two authors to win a Nebula in every category, Bear has been called the 'Best working writer of hard science fiction' by 'The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Science Fiction'. Bear has served on political and scientific action committees and has advised Microsoft Corporation, the U.S. Army, the CIA, Sandia National Laboratories, Callison Architecture, Inc., Homeland Security, and other groups and agencies.