A final hurrah from the prolific Anderson (Mother of Kings, 2001, etc.), who died in 2001. In Anderson's galaxy, the legendary Forerunners vanished millions of years ago, having left artifacts scattered on dozens of planets. Surveying a habitable planet, explorer Lissa Davysdaughter, of family Windholm on planet Asborg, comes across a Forerunner device. Apparently still functioning, the device will be of enormous scientific value—but only if Lissa can persuade freebooter Torben Hebo, who also claims the device, to share. Torben agrees but then makes crude sexual advances, which Lissa rejects in disgust. In an age when everyone is immortal, long-term memory storage becomes a problem; Torben drifts off to Earth, now occupied by a sort of group intelligence, to have his memories edited. Lissa teams up with a dissident alien Susaian to discover the location of an event of extraordinary significance, the imminent collision of two black holes, information that the tyrannical Susaian government, the Dominance, definitely does not intend to share. Years later, Lissa again meets up with Torben; he has mellowed in the interim, and now claims to know the whereabouts of a planet where operating Forerunner devices may be found. In this new and dangerous venture, the pair again will be opposed by their old rivals in the Susaian Dominance.
Episodic and meandering: a slight but mostly pleasing footnote to a career that varied widely, from frequent brilliance at short/medium length to patchy, too-often longwinded work.