) is a science fiction
novel by Charles Sheffield
written within the Heritage Universe
. The story takes place millennia in the future, with humans having extensively colonized our spiral arm
of the Milky Way
and having encountered a number of intelligent alien races
. Littered throughout the galaxy
are hundreds of massive abandoned engineering projects built by a mysterious race, referred to as The Builders, extinct for 3 million years. An eclectic group of scientists and opportunists are descending upon one such artifact at a time when its surrounding environment is extremely dangerous to study an unusual phenomenon.
The novel is similar in scope to works like Rendezvous with Rama and Ringworld, but showcases more of Sheffield's concentration on eccentric characters and dark psychology.
Summertide has a sequel, Divergence.