There they discover a society on the cusp of an industrial and technological revolution. Merlin also discovers that the entire system is threatened by a coming natural disaster and takes it upon himself to help these people.
It was an interesting story that, if you are a Star Trek fan, takes on the implication of a "prime directive." How far should you go to help nurture progress to help a society? What are the consequences if you succeed?
I enjoyed this story because, as the anthology suggests, this is just one small corner of a much larger universe that Merlin is part of.
Reynolds has used this character in other books so it's inclusion in this anthology does its job of whetting an appetite to discover what else he's written.
As a stand alone story it worked very well and hinted at the larger universe that is out there in the author's imagination.
Alastair Reynolds' website - http://www.alastairreynolds.com/