Stephen Baxter’s gripping page-turners are feats of bold speculation and big ideas that, for all their time-and-space-spanning grandeur, remain firmly rooted in scientific fact and cutting-edge theory. Now Baxter is back with the final volume in his monumental Destiny’s Children trilogy, a tour de force in which parallel stories unfold–and then meet as humanity stands poised on the brink of divine providence . . . or extinction.
DESTINY’S CHILDREN TRANSCENDENT
It is the year 2047, and nuclear engineer Michael Poole is still in the throes of grief. His beloved wife, Morag, died seventeen years ago, along with their second child. Yet Michael is haunted by more than just the memory of Morag. On a beach in Miami, he sees his dead wife. But she vanishes as suddenly as she appears, leaving no clue as to her mysterious purpose.
Alia was born on a starship, fifteen thousand light years from Earth, five hundred thousand years after the death of Michael Poole. Yet she knows him intimately. In this distant future, when humanity has diversified as a species and spread across the galaxy, every person is entrusted with the duty of Witnessing the life of one man, woman, or child from the past, recovered by means of a technology able to traverse time itself. Alia’s subject is Michael Poole.
When his surviving, estranged son is injured, Michael tries to reconnect with him–and to stave off a looming catastrophe. Vast reservoirs of toxic gases lie buried beneath the poles, trapped in crystals of ice. Now that ice is melting. Once it goes, the poisons released will threaten all life on Earth. A bold solution is within reach, if only Michael can convince a doubting world. Yet as Morag’s ghostly visitations continue, Michael begins to doubt his own sanity.
In the future, Alia is chosen to become a Transcendent, an undying member of the group mind that is shepherding humanity toward an evolutionary apotheosis. The Witnessings are an integral part of their design, for only by redeeming the pain of every human who has lived and died can true Transcendence be achieved. Yet Alia discovers a dark side to the Transcendents’ plans, a vein of madness that may lead to an unthinkable renunciation.
Somehow, Michael Poole holds the fate of the future in his hands. Now, to save that future, Alia must undertake a desperate journey into the past. . . .
“Baxter has an uncanny gift for mixing a punchy, cyberpunk cynicism with his resolutely hard SF story base. . . . [Exultant] rivals Asimov in its boundless vision for the future evolution of humanity.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
For more than twenty thousand years, humans have been at war with the alien race of Xeelee. Faced with certain death, a young pilot, Pirius, disobeys orders and travels into the future. Upon his return, Pirius is court-martialed and sentenced to penal servitude. But it is not only Pirius who pays the price. In flying into the future and back again, Pirius returned to a time before he’d left, a time inhabited by his younger self, who also receives punishment. Commissary Nilis believes that the elder Pirius, whom he dubs Pirius Blue, may know how to defeat the Xeelee. But Nilis can do nothing for Pirius Blue. Instead, he takes the younger Pirius—Pirius Red—back to Earth. There Pirius Red will discover truths that shatter his preconceived notions of all that he is fighting for, while Pirius Blue will learn even harsher truths. But the most shocking revelation of all is still to come.
“Absurdly ambitious, technically brilliant, and downright exciting.”—SFX Magazine
“Lean, taut storytelling . . . breakneck stuff . . . Arguably his most accessible book to date—Baxter [is] resplendent.”—SFX magazine
When his father dies suddenly, George Poole stumbles onto a family secret: He has a twin sister he never knew existed, who was raised by an enigmatic cult called the Order. The Order is a hive—a human hive with a dominant queen—that has prospered below the streets of Rome for almost two millennia. After Poole enters the Order’s vast underground city and meets the disturbing inhabitants, he uncovers evidence that they have embarked on a divergent evolutionary path. These genetically superior humans are equipped with the tools necessary to render modern Homo sapiens as extinct as the Neanderthals. And now they are preparing to leave their underground realm.
“[Excels] at both action-packed storytelling and philosophical speculation.”—Library Journal
“Utterly fascinating . . . constantly surprising . . . Coalescent reveals a new side to Baxter’s vast talent.”—Locus