In 2126, the United Kingdom has assumed a leadership role in space exploration. There is a colony on Mars, UK-built ships are exploring the solar system, and the UK-designed Sagan Space Platform is confidently asserted to be the largest man-made object ever placed in earth orbit.
That feeling of confidence in human advancement is seriously tested when a 5.2-kilometer-long starship suddenly emerges from a temporal anomaly out beyond Saturn and parks itself in orbit near the platform. A further shock comes after the starship's computers learn to translate Earth's languages, and it becomes possible to communicate with her crew.
The ship is called Warrior, and far from carrying potential invaders from somewhere in deep space, her captain reveals that the ship was built in Earth's orbit and has just returned from a 15-year exploration mission that, accounting for extensive travel in "jumpspace", took 86,985 years in real time.
Returning touches on fear of the unknown and the lengths to which some people will go to retain power and dominate others "for their own good", or to overcome cognitive dissonance when the world of reality suddenly disagrees with their long-held beliefs. From the crew of the huge ship, to a former evangelist who's been President of the United States for 29 years, to a 15-year-old girl from Denver who finds the simple act of scolding someone for using the wrong ham radio channel sets her on a course for the strangest adventure of her young life - this is a fascinating science fiction adventure, with a profound warning for today.