Michael's desires for normality are shattered, however, when he reads a news story about strange bodies discovered in a nearby hotel - one grossly obese, one strangely mummified and in a party dress. Other news stories speak of "hauntings" around the world - Michael suspects that the Sidhe are coming to Earth. If that isn't enough, he is contacted by a musical faculty member from UCLA named Kristine Pendeers who is looking for the Infinity Concerto - Opus 45. She wants to discover and perform it; and she has a friend who, with the help of letters and papers they hope to discover in Waltiri's estate, hopes to finish Mahler's unfinished Symphony. And they then plan play the two pieces together. Once the decision is made to start looking for these materials, Michael begins to fall under various attacks to stop him from completing these tasks.
Hopefully the bits of plot I outlined above don't spoil the book for anyone - I could hardly outline less without being so vague about the basic plot of the book as to be basically providing you with a meaningless synopsis; however, there is so much more to this book than the above. Greg Bear weaves throughout this story a fascinating new mythos about the creation and evolution, de-evolution and re-evolution of man and the universe that I found to be quite astonishing in its depth and breadth. He weaves in references to several world religions and ties them in to his mythos, showing how the original truth was "twisted" over the years to conform to what would best serve those in power. It's a really interesting device and I enjoyed the way it was woven in throughout the story. You may also look at vegetarianism in a whole new light.
There was only one thing about the story that bothered me and I'm not sure if it was because I misinterpreted what I was reading or if it is because of some sort of misogyny on the part of the author. It is mentioned several times throughout the course of the book that "magic is carried by the woman." However, not one single mage shown is a woman. If women carry the magic, why aren't there any female mages? Or, as I said, perhaps I am misinterpreting it, and by "carry" they mean like a recessive gene - they carry the magic, but cannot use it.
Those who are fans of epic fantasy, magical realism, stories of the Sidhe (especially of the darker natures thereof) or simply well-crafted alternate realities, please do not miss this one.