This was the second piece of sci-fi I picked up at the library the other day, and again, the main problem (well, only problem) was that the same person had had it out before me and it stank of cigarette smoke. Meh.
The plot, on the other hand, was brilliant. An agent gets dropped into a mysterious planet. All he knows is that his superiors expect him to survive the atmosphere and that they think there's life. But as he begins to investigate the mysterious world they call Haze, he starts to realise there's more to it than met the eye. Which, as the only thing visible from afar was a misty blanket that shaded the whole world and hid everything from sight, is not hard. Skilfully interwoven comes the tale of a different assignment, one in which Roget first found himself questioning the wisdom of his masters, and their assumptions about the world. Two brilliant stories, and three conflicting cultures depicted fantastically. The systems just feel so real, so true, and yet there are no huge data dumps, no awkward conversations which are clearly there just to pass on essential details about the systems. Roget's querying of everything eh sees on Haze, his struggle to understand this technologically superior culture in which there are no overt methods of control leads him to question in turn his own values and judgements, continuing the questioning that first began years ago when he infiltrated a religious community. Fascinating.