Half a millennium from now, when humans discover the chilly planet Candle, they are astonished to find it already inhabited--by Mississippian Indians! Hundreds of years ago, assisted by spirit familiars called ``chocolacas,'' the Indians paddled their canoes through higher dimensions in astonishing voyages of exploration. Now, newspaperman Will James, a man reconstituted from a broadcast radio wave, his Indian friend Thomas Fall, whose chocolaca is the powerful Raej, and Janey--she has powers, uncontrolled as yet, that can alter reality--must team up to prevent Janey's vicious, venal sister, Georgia, from exploiting the Indians' deposits of valuable Loosa clay, the complex structure of which can house chocolacas and personality algorithms. The struggle on Candle is part of a war instigated on Earth, where group-mind Ideals have subverted the religious Clerisy for an assault on the governing Westpac. The chocolacas are also involved; they're actually advanced aliens inhabiting higher realities, but an evil faction, since it feeds and reproduces on human conflict and suffering, seeks to destroy the good-guy Raej and indefinitely prolong the war. Fizzing with ideas (not all convincing), gloriously diverse, bizarrely uncontrolled: Daniel has plenty of work still to do, but his debut holds forth immense promise.