The mighty ship Phoenix Exultant is at last in the hands of her master; Phaethon the Exile is at her helm. But the terrible truth has been revealed: he is being hunted by the agents from a long-lost dead star, the eerie and deadly Lords of the Silent Oecumene, whose super-technology plumbs depths even the all-knowing Earthmind cannot fathom.
Humanity will be helpless during the Golden Transcendence. Phaethon's enemies plan to use the opportunity to destroy the population of the Inner System, man and machine alike. To do this, they must take control of Phaethon's beloved starship and turn her unparalleled power to warlike uses. Phaethon's memories are incomplete - but he knows a spy for the Silent Ones is already aboard. And when the all-encompassing Mind of the Golden Transcendence wakes - who will it condemn? Which future will it chose? Are Phaethon's dreams of star-flight about to revolutionize the Golden Age into an age even more glorious than gold, or will they kindle the first open war fought across the immensity of interstellar space?