Third in Hamilton's trilogy (Mindstar Rising, 1996; A Quantum Murder, p. 1421) featuring Greg Mandel, of the psi- powered Mindstar Battalion. Now retired, Greg has taken up orange-farming in half-drowned, subtropical, 21st-century England. But then his old friend Julia Evans, of the preeminent Event Horizon corporation, receives a mysterious flower sent by her computer-whiz husband, Royan, who's been missing for eight months. The flower turns out to be extraterrestrial--and highly evolved. Then media manipulator Clifford Jepson of Globecast attempts to peddle scientific information that's clearly beyond current human capabilities. What's going on? It seems that Royan, as Julia discovers, sent a probe to Jupiter to investigate possible alien microbes. Greg, meanwhile, traces the flower via its courier, the high-class whore Charlotte Fielder, who received it from a Celestial Apostle cultist aboard New London, an asteroid that Event Horizon has nudged into Earth orbit. Charlotte is horrified to learn that she's been working for a lethal group of Russian gangsters. Finally, all the movers and shakers converge on New London for a showdown with Royan and a strange, powerful, and immensely dangerous alien. Gratifyingly complex and challenging--indeed, impossible to summarize adequately, what with battles, love stories, vendettas, imponderable aliens, and robust characters: a fine trilogy, sure, but this one's in a class by itself.