House of Suns - Alistair Reynolds
Six million years ago, Abigail Gentian split her personality and memories into a thousand clones and launched them into deep space. Now, two such Gentians - Campion and Purslane - are in trouble. They've broken Abigail's rules by falling in love, and they're decades late for the latest reunion. They hope that their amnesiac robot guest will curry them some favour - but little do they know that they've become mixed up in posthuman mysteries that, after all this time, could finally bring an end to the Gentian line.
Alistair Reynold's stories typically have as their underpinning a strong sense that civilisations are probably ephemeral, and that the clock is ticking for humanity. In House of Suns, however, he explores the other side of the question: how might humanity survive for longer than an astronomical sneeze? If it does, how might it change? And how (through long lived individuals and time dilation) might it stay the same?
Although I think Revelation Space and Chasm City are two of Reynold's strongest works, I also think that House of Suns - like Century Rain and Pushing Ice - is yet more proof that he's currently doing his best work outside the Revelation Space series. Reynolds benefits from being able to shape the entire Universe around his ideas like the vastest of all storytelling tools. He does this here to perhaps a greater extent than he's ever done, combining the astronomical and personal scales with a dash of that Gothic, anachronistic style that will be familiar to fans.