By Dirk Schulze-Makuch

It's been approximately a hundred years because the Apollo moon landings, whilst Jack and Vladimir, astronauts on a project to Venus, find a mysterious void concerning indigenous existence on the earth. thus extra voids are detected on the earth, Mars, Titan, and, particularly ominously, within a planetoid rising from the Kuiper belt.

Jack is distributed to enquire the voids within the sun procedure and intercept the planetoid - which, as turns into more and more transparent, is inhabited via alien existence kinds. Jack and his staff can have little time to appreciate their alien biochemistry, talents, habit styles, resilience, and know-how, but in addition how those lifestyles types relate to the voids.

Humankind's first come upon with those unique existence kinds couldn't be extra fateful, turning into a race opposed to time to save lots of existence in the world and to bare the genuine nature of the voids, which appear to be intrinsically concerning lifestyles and the universe itself. during this novel, the writer combines many issues regarding state of the art learn within the box of astrobiology with fictional components to supply an exhilarating web page turner.

This new edition considerably develops the astrobiological denouement of the plot and lines an in depth non-technical appendix the place the underlying technological know-how is gifted and mentioned.

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Then he heard the sound of horses' hooves and the tramp of marching feet. A troop of soldiers appeared in the valley before him. Ahead came a standard-bearer, carrying a long pole which bore the image of a fierce golden eagle. Below the eagle were the initials SPQR. Behind the standard-bearer was a chariot, drawn by two tired horses. An officer marched beside the chariot, and behind him marched weary ranks of armoured men. They wore breastplates and helmets with horse-hair crests. They carried square shields, javelins and short swords.

The centurion took another swig of wine before replying, then gave the Doctor a swift, worried glance. 'It's all right, Centurion,' said the Doctor quietly. "That's why I've been sent here, to find out what's really going on. The Emperor needs to know the truth. ' 'Wouldn't surprise me one bit, sir,' muttered the centurion. ' 'To be honest, Legate, it's - confusing. We march, we fight, we march again, we fight some more. Fair enough, that's a soldier's life. ' encouraged the Doctor. 'We never seem to get anywhere.

Romans, thought the Doctor, and immediately wondered how he knew. ' Astonished, the officer raised his hand. ' The charioteer reined in his horses, and the ranks of marching soldiers came to a halt. Tired as they were, they made no attempt to break ranks. They stood alert, grasping thek swords and spears, awaiting orders. The officer studied the Doctor cautiously and decided that one man, alone and unarmed, presented no threat. Moreover, this man, strangely dressed as he was had an air of civilisation, even of rank about him.

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