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Echoes of Earth/Williams, Sean/Paper/073227527X/S007-D
Orphans Trilogy, Book 1
In the early 22nd century, humans have shed their bodies to travel through space. Produced through nanotechnology, their electronic reproductions, known as engrams, have been sent on fact-finding missions throughout the known universe - searching for signs of life.
As the engram crew of a survey ship watches, ten orbital towers are constructed around an uninhabited planet's equator by unidentifiable, spindle-shaped entities. Then, without any attempt at communication, the spindles withdraw. Cautiously exploring the towers, engram Peter Alander finds what appear to be gifts from a technologically-advanced race, including a faster-than-light ship. But when Alander pilots the ship back to Earth with news of the unprecedented event, he may be giving humanity a gift it can't afford to accept...