The following excerpt is © Peter F. Hamilton, All Rights Reserved. Under no circumstances should this be copied, distributed or reproduced any other way.

What follows is the cliffhanger in the Dariat/Valisk storyline that appeared in the UK edition of The Neutronium Alchemist but not the US edition. It will appear in the US edition of The Naked God, but not the UK edition. This only presents a problem for those people buying the US edition of The Neutronium Alchemist and the UK edition of The Naked God. If you have bought or intend to by both books in the same country, you will not miss a thing. If you buy the UK version of The Neutronium Alchemist and the US version of The Naked God, you will get the following text in both books.

The Nights Dawn Trilogy

The Dariat Cliffhanger

Dariat did the one thing which he had never expected to do agan. He opened his eyes and looked around. His own eyes in his own body; fat unpleasant thing that it was, clad in his usual grubby toga.

The sight which greeted him was familiar: one of Valisk's innumerable shallow valleys out among the pink grass plains. If he wasn't completely mistaken, it was the same patch of ground Anastasia's tribe had occupied the day she died.

'This is the final afterlife?' he asked aloud.

It couldn't be. There was an elusive memory, the same befuddlement as a dream leaves upon waking. Of a sundering, of being torn out of...

He had fused with Rubra, the two of them becoming one, vanquishing the foe by shunting Valisk to a realm, or dimension, or state, that the two of them grasped was intrinsically adverse to the possessing souls. Perhaps they had even created the new location by simply willing it to be. And then time went awry.

He gave his surroundings a more considered examination. It was Valisk, all right. The circumfluous sea was about four kilometres away, its clusters of atolls easily recognizable. When he turned the other way, he could see a fat black scar running down two-thirds of the northern endcap.

The light tube was dimmer than it should be, even accounting for the loss of some plasma. It proffered a kind of twilight, but grey rather than the magnificent golden sunset Dariat had experienced every day of his life. The grass plain echoed that malaised atmosphere, it was uneasily torpid. Its resident insects had curled up into dormancy; birds and rodents slunk back reticently to their nests, even the flowers had shrugged off their natural gloss.

Dariat bent down to pick an enervated poppy. And his chubby hand passed clean through the stem. He stared at it in astonishment, for the first time seeing that he was faintly translucent.

Shock finally liberated comprehension. A location hostile to possessors, one which would exorcise them from their enslaved hosts, denying them their energistic power. That was the destination he and Rubra had commited the habitat to.

'Oh, Thoale, you utter bastard. I'm a ghost.'

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