The first book in this series, Brindabella 2200, was the story of a scientific quest. Along the way, the participants explored the questions of what we are as humans and what we are as individuals. For the central character, Mary Wang, and her Arkadelian culture there was also the question of how far a Personal Archive could capture the character, or spirit, of a person and propagate that through time and space beyond their physical existence.
This book goes beyond the individual and looks at societies and cultures as Mary tries to understand and quench the furore that the results of their quest unleashed. As her new friends, Clare and Tom, look forward to the birth of their first child, she realises that the key to understanding the behaviour and evolution of whole cultures is childhood – in particular the importance of children's stories.