Interstellar Vehicle Archimedes has been hurtling through space for more than five generations, an oasis of heat and light in the middle of absolutely nowhere. But now the ageing starship is preparing to brake, for it is arriving at Destination Star: Tau Ceti, the new home for the space-born descendants of the First Crew.
For trainee engineer Ravinder MacLeod, the world he knows is coming to an end. Once Archimedes succumbs to the gravitational pull of the Destination Star and its (hopefully) habitable planet, there will be no going back - or anywhere else. As Braking Day approaches, Ravi finds himself caught between the rigid requirements of the officer class to which he aspires and his blue-collar, ne'er-do-well family. Unfortunately for Ravi, Boz, his brilliant ex-con cousin, seems determined to make his life difficult - not least by her experiments with forbidden technology.
Then Ravi is assigned to routine maintenance deep in the massive engines of the Archimedes, where, alone and out of contact, he comes face to face with something impossible - mind-breakingly impossible.
Plagued by nightmares and visions and worried that his grip on reality is slipping, Ravi turns to Boz for help. Their search for answers takes them to the jagged place where the ship's future intersects with its long past. For not everyone is excited to be reaching journey's end, and the ghosts of the First Crew may not have been fully laid to rest.