Case awakens on an alien star ship with no memory of his origin. He is told that he is the sole survivor of a ship that his alien benefactors assume came from a lost human colony called “Earth.” In the company of his alien caretaker/companion he travels to various systems in search of his origins. As Case recovers from his injuries, he struggles to make sense of the flashes of unconnected memories that plague him and may be clues to his identity and the location of Earth. In the process of searching, he discovers that there have been multiple species of humans who are traveling among the stars. He also realizes that they have only a modest role within the galaxy-spanning civilization. As his emotional health improves he also rediscovers the bitter disappointments of love and friendship. While evading inimical forces are vying to learn of his origin, Case begins to have doubts about his allegedly altruistic caretaker’s motives. As his memories become increasingly coherent, he considers possible theories of his origin: had he really come from a colony lost in the early days of mankind’s expansion? Where could it be hidden in a universe so well populated? Were all his recovered memories false and created for some unknown alien or human purpose? Each of these ideas is considered, discussed, and discarded as he finally discovers the truth of his origin. Case comes to terms with his new identity and faces a future beyond anything he ever imagined.
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