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Yuri Eden is one of dozens of criminals being landed on the surface of Proxima C, a planet orbiting one of our nearest stellar neighbors, and an important outpost of UN colonial expansion meant to counter the ambitions of the Chinese. The new colonists are dropped in small groups, isolated from one another, and are expected to find a way to be self-supporting as their jailors head back to Earth. Meanwhile on Mercury, amazing discoveries have been made. Kernels that hold limitless amounts of energy are found beneath the planet's surface, and control of this energy source will cause instability among the solar system's superpowers. VERDICT The latest from award-winning Baxter ("Xeelee Sequence" series) is satisfying, big-scale sf that shows us that even in the far future or on an alien world all the best and worst of humanity would remain. He creates an intriguing new life- form and seeds enough mysteries to provide fodder for several sequels.