Following various characters in a new industrial age where diamond is used as a basic building material and nanotechnology has made almost any machine possible, including artificial islands. The social models are based on Victorian values, and an engineer is asked to create a hyperbook for a rich man's daughter - a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer. It is given to a bright but poor girl who then makes her way through the world with it's help.
Although it has a number of good ideas, the story does not hang together very well, giving over far too much time to the contents of the primer and is over-long, with a bodged-together ending. The style of writing seems to be based on the Victorian style, which is all very well but beyond being an intellectual exercise, would have been more interesting if the story it was telling was more interesting.
Review by Paul Silver, 1996
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