Cosmonaut Keep, Paperback
3.5 out of 5 (3 ratings)


After the Ural Caspian Oil War, nobody really trusted the EU government.

So why should their extraordinary announcement of first contact with alien intelligence be believed?

Matt Cairns thinks he can discover the truth. It is out there, but much, much further away than he could have imagined. Thousands of light-years from Earth, a human colony is struggling for survival.

The world on which they have settled, however, has already been inhabited by humans - and other intelligent species from Earth - for millennia.

In that ancient division of labour, humans do have a place.

But where is it? Twenty-first-century political intrigue becomes space opera on an epic scale in Ken MacLeod's first book in a dazzling new series.

His most ambitious novel to date, it will take one of Britain's most exciting new science fiction authors to even greater heights of success and critical acclaim.

More information on this book and others can be found on the Orbit website at


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Science fiction
  • ISBN: 9781841490670



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops


Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

My catalogue record for this book came from the British Library. Somebody there was having a bad day; or perhaps someone at the publisher supplied bad data. So let's correct some misconceptions at the outset: this is not a "toy or movable book", nor is it about house-cleaning. Still interested ?Good. Because this is a book about intelligence, technology (its rise and fall and reinvention), alienness, cultural difference and politics. With two love stories, each of a man pursued by two women in two different centuries, intertwined.Some of these themes - the politics and the musings on human and machine intelligence - are familiar territory for Macleod, and if you've read any of his other work, particularly the "Fall Revolution" series, you'll find much to recognise here. What's also familiar from those books is the device of telling a story that's split in two, with one part taking place in a near future and the other some hundreds of years later. But Macleod takes some of his themes further, and the future part of the story involves humans interacting both with other human groups whose development has taken very different paths, and with aliens who are markedly different in mysterious ways from the humans they mix with.Some of these themes are explored in more depth than others, and I found some of this frustrating. But this is the first book of a series and it's possible that they are picked up in later books. Macleod retains his ability to tell a political adventure story in which programmers play a central role, and his humour still features and makes the book an even more enjoyable read.I didn't get the sense of sheer joy I got when I first read "The Star Fraction", but that's probably because the themes, and Macleod's ability to portray political cliques with sharp, observational wit, aren't so new to me any more. He still does it well.

Review by
A god stood in the sky high above the summer horizon, his long white hair streaming in the solar wind. Later, when the sky's colour had shifted from green to black, the white glow would reach almost to the zenith, its light outshining the Foamy Wake, the broad band of the Galaxy.Two linked stories are told in alternate chapters. One is a first contact story about the meeting between between humans and aliens, while the later story involves the descendants of some of the characters now living on another planet in the Second Sphere, thousands of light years from Earth.I'm looking forward to the other books in the trilogy.
Review by

I love the way this starts out, which is in second person POV -- only very briefly, though. After that, the chapters alternate between a world that is not Earth, and a world that is Earth but way in the future. It took me a while to realise how the stories were linked -- Ken MacLeod once again threw me in at the deepend about the socio-political situation, but in this trilogy I picked it up quickly -- and I didn't care for the alternation of first person and third person, which happened every chapter.<br/><br/>I did get to care for the characters, but I definitely felt thrown in at the deep end.

Also by Ken MacLeod   |  View all

Also in the Engines of Light series   |  View all