Another episode in Simmons's vast and hypercomplicated far-future saga (The Fall of Hyperion, 1990, etc.). Now, the repressive Pax of the Church rules human space through its possession of ""cruciforms,"" symbiotes that allow the dead to be resurrected. On planet Hyperion, woodsman Raul Endymion is snatched from death row by the thousand-year-old poet Martin Silenus and given the task of protecting the child Aenea, who will shortly emerge from the Time Tombs having time-traveled from 264 years in the past; Aenea is destined to save humanity, and Raul is her designated hero. Other matters on Silenus's list of things for Raul and Aenea to do: find planet Earth, long since mysteriously vanished; defeat the TechnoCore, a hostile and immensely powerful alliance of advanced artificial intelligence; form a friendship with the weird space-dwelling Ousters--oh, yes, and destroy the Pax and topple the Church. Unfortunately, the Pax knows about Aenea, and sends Father Captain de Soya in his state-of-the-art, superfast spaceship to capture her. So Raul, Aenea, and the ancient android Bettik flee into the planet-hopping network of ""farcaster"" portals. Eventually, an invulnerable construct, sent by the Core back from the future, will show up to assassinate Aenea--but she'll be defended by the enigmatic Shrike, previously considered hostile to all humans. Intriguing ideas and above-average characters in a choppy narrative marred by friable plotting: gripping sometimes, though equally often glutinously overdetailed--and series regulars will note the endless scope for further installments.