"Imagine a forest ten times that intense, an entire ecosystem of miniature forests growing inside the hollow bole of a tree the size of a spaceport. Then imagine that the tree of such prodigious vitality is not even a tree, but only a kind of flowering weed with an exterior harder than bark, harder than granite. Imagine a single nocturnal blossom that would fill the Al-Masjid al-Haram from one wall to the other, that each night spews into the air millions of airborne spores that burn with light like violet sparks; all it would take is the feather-soft touch of just one against the back of your hand, and you would be dead before you could even gasp.
"This is a world of beauty and strange poisons. An entire species of botanists could not fully catalogue it."
The Starmind Project leaves a cryptic note for the woman who will lead the Ansible 15717 team, inviting her to a planet that makes the Amazon rain forests, now long gone, seem only a pale imitation. One of humanity’s foremost botanists, she is reluctant to leave an earth that has only just begun to flower again, but the lure of that alien paradise and the discoveries to be made there is too strong to deny.
And what she finds there, in those distant forests, will shake her to the heart.
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