Kicking off a new series from the bestselling duo (the Death Gate cycle, most recently The Seventh Gate, 1994, etc.), Galactic affairs--involving dozens of contending empires, both human and alien--are coordinated by the Omnet, an organization dedicated to gathering and disseminating information and to recovering the Nine Oracles, a set of omniscient synthetic intelligences (""synths""), missing since the fall of an ancient empire. When the first starship from Earth arrives in the vicinity, its crews find that nothing on board works anymore; they're attacked by aliens, and several of them are fed to a demon. Survivor Jeremy Griffiths finds his head full of information, dumped there by a wizard who expires before he can explain. Crisscrossing the galaxy, it emerges, are ""quantum wave fronts"" behind which different sets of physical laws operate (this notion, not a new one, allows the presence of demons, magic dragons, etc., in an ostensibly science fiction setting; its more profound implications seem to have sailed right over the authors' heads). Jeremy, captured by angry Omnet operative Merinda Neskat, learns that the galaxy's ordinary synths are being subverted: Instead of doing their jobs, they're dedicating themselves to a shadowy power group called the Sentinels. To save the day, Merinda must locate the Nine Oracles and obtain an authoritative ruling that should whip the rebellious synths into line. Ambitious hogwash, guaranteed to become a huge success.