Яппаньки вам,уважаем(ый)(ая)(ое)!

General George S. Patton, whose phantom army in Britain decoyed the Germans. An additional, passionate thanks to him for keeping me stocked with Russell Stover chocolate, Diet Coke, and chocolate chip ice cream throughout the writing of this book.

Thanks to my agent, Lori Perkins, and my editor, Steve Saffel.

And thanks to Igmoe, my iguana, for redeeming himself after his poor behavior during the writing of Book 1 by being quite a good boy this time around.


The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance-it is the illusion of knowledge.

-Daniel J. Boorstin

January 2259

Chapter 1

The ship sang of the beauty of order, the harmony of the spheres. The peace of its silent passage through space, the symmetry of its form, the unity of its functioning wove through its melody. But within the song, Kosh was disturbed.

The maelstrom was spreading.

Only a short time ago, the forces of chaos had been limited to their ancient home of Z'ha'dum. While that planet remained their stronghold, they had now spread to over a dozen worlds in the surrounding systems.

Kosh altered his ship's song, slowing its speed, drawing it carefully closer to the fourth planet orbiting the star called Thenothk. Near the end of the last war with the ancient enemy, Kosh had visited this place. It had been a sphere of red in the darkness of space, a frigid, barren desert, unable to sustain life. He had left a buoy nonetheless, and over time, it had perceived changes.

Soon after the buoy had begun its observations, a great ship had arrived, an engine of transformation sent by the ancient enemy. It was but one of many sent into the systems surrounding their home, designed to create habitable environments for them and their allies. Finally
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