The peace between Earth and these Outers is tenuous at best. Many in Earths ruling families would love to see the Outer Cities fall and stem the younger generation's urge to move outwards into the solar system. With secret political plots, deadly sabotage and espionage both sides are quickly heading towards a war.
The beginning of the book describes a group of clones being trained for any unknown military purpose, but the story switches abruptly to that of Macy Minnot, a bioengineer on a team sent as a good will gesture from Earth. They are there to create ecosystems in an Outer city. She is drawn into a power play between the differing factions as she encounters murder and sabotage, and eventually is herself imprisoned, managing to escape just before war breaks out. While neither side is necessarily evil-- Earth wants to right the changes global warming has wrought and the Outers want to improve the human race to cope with the changes-- both sides see the other as a polar opposite.
The Quiet War did not hold my attention at all. I didn't find the characters the least bit engaging and the plot often slowed to a crawl, sometimes describing the science behind a certain project in unwarranted detail. In my opinion, there are better ways to spend your reading time than with Paul McAuley's The Quiet War.
Abarat by Paul McAuley
Published by Pyr
The Quiet War by Paul McAuley is available at Amazon.com
Pyr Publishing provided me with a free review copy of The Quiet War