Set an unspecified time in the future, humanity has spread through the inner Solar System, and established a large number of bases and arcologies in the asteroid belt in the vicinity of Ceres. (This allows a certain ‘spread out’ feel between some major locations in the book, but travel times are in hours instead of days or months.) Gail, the main character, is something of a loner, with a small ship named Kismet that she uses for a salvage business. A tip off on a wreck turns into trouble that keeps getting bigger at every turn and drives the plot to a surprisingly high-stakes climax.

Along the way, Gail is pushed back into the unfinished business of her own life, and the novel does a great job driving the action forward, expanding the scope of the mystery, and making the situation matter more and more to Gail herself. I actually have some trouble with some of the early ‘pushes’ into the plot, but that fades fast.

An interesting major theme is transhumanism-as-furry. “Totemics”, people who have undergone a combination of surgical and genetic alterations to take on anthropomorphic traits, are a major part of the background. There are some minor improvements to senses and the like available, as well as much more capable (and tempermental) bio-mechanical options, but most modifications are more cosmetic. There’s a number of examples of more individual forms of self-expression with these mods, but the totemics are the most cohesive group, even though their own motivations behind their modifications vary. There’s a number of fragments of interesting philosophical arguments along the way, and one that caught at my attention towards the end dealt with the choice of form inherent in the modifying process.

It all makes for a satisfying and well-rounded SF novel. Action, mystery, philosophy, and a glimpse of a possible future all coexist gracefully between two covers.

Finally, I’ll note that FurPlanet’s hardcopy version has an elementary formatting mistake. The body text margins are weighted on the fore edge of the page instead instead of the spine, pushing the text towards the spine. Thankfully, there’s still room enough that there’s no real reading problem, but it gets uncomfortably close. It’s like they got their left/right templates reversed.