Taking the fall for his younger brother, Richard Candle went from being cyber cop to condemned criminal. After four years of UnMinding-, his mind suppressed, his body enslaved-he's released to discover his brother has slipped back into the underworld of the V-Rat, the virtual reality addict. Meanwhile, Candle's harried by the murderous Grist, the head of the world's biggest multinational. But his real enemy is something else: a conscious program, the Multisemblant, a meld of copied personalities, the dark side of five powerful people, with its own brutal agenda. Human society is sinking ever deeper a mire of escapism but Richard Candle, looking for his missing brother, fights his way through the real world of underground stock markets, flying guns, the trash-walled labyrinth of Rooftown and the fringe of the fringe.