A fast-moving space adventure featuring mysterious aliens, a journey to a de-populated planet, a mad run from space cops, a ship captain in trouble, and her AI (Artificially Intelligent) companion/ship's computer. It is carnival time on Mars, but Tabitha Jute isn't partying. She is in hiding from the law, penniless and about to lose her livelihood and her best friend, the space barge "Alice Liddell". Then, the intriguing Marco Metz offers her some money to take him to Plenty, and then the adventure begins. Winner of both the Arthur C. Clarke Award for best science fiction novel of the year and the British Science Fiction Association Award for best novel of the year--the only book ever to win both prestigious British awards.