Del Rey, March 2004, 26.95 768 pp.
It is the golden age of humanity thanks to Nigel Sheldon and Ozzie Isaac, the two scientists who developed the math that made wormhole technology possible. Mankind travels between the six hundred colonized worlds by using wormhole generated vessels. Rejuvenation is available to all so everyone can live as long as they want. If they are killed, a clone is created of that person and their stored memory chips are inserted into the neural network so they can be the same person they were before they died.
When the Second Chance spaceship travels the solar system Dyson Alpha to observe the force field that surrounds it, the barrier suddenly disappears. The crew sees hundreds of ships using nuclear missiles on each other. The Second Chance leaves before it is spotted even though they have to leave a two crew men behind. A second expedition to Dyson Alpha discovers that the warfighters have wormhole technology and will launch an invasion into commonwealth territory.
Imagine using a train to travel to a different world, living for as long as you want and picking the planet of your choice to make a home. It sounds like heaven, so when hostile aliens threaten the peace, humanity, who has not known war for three centuries, has a lot of catching up to do but they are hindered in their quest by unknown enemies who have the powers-that-be in their pocket. Peter F. Hamilton has written a powerfully compelling space opera in the tradition of Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner