There's a character called Quaiche, a religious devotee who sets up the giant Cathedrals. Their function is to traverse Hela (the moon of the gas giant Haldora) so as to observe its parent planet in the hope that it will disappear for a split second, showing what's within. Quaiche uses a special in-doctrinal virus to maintain religious faith among his supporters, though I'm not sure that would be strictly necessary ;-) Given that science occupies the position Religion used to in our belief systems, it’s probably inevitable that ultimately each informs our perception of the other. I think SF links to the Religious via Philosophy. The conclusion Reynolds comes to is that if you know the future, you lose it, it becomes like the past so you have no future. It’s also about how knowledge is not enough, just really a factor in a bigger equation of the soul, involving communion with others. The conclusion being that to miss the bigger equation is to fail to really understand.
From a philosophical and religious perspective this justifies our not knowing the future as the future is really the wick upon which our life flame burns. I think that’s what Reynolds is aiming for.
Not everything has seemed equally reasonable in Reynolds' writing. This novel has at least two defects. One is that it has not finished managing well the 600 pages: after a patient work of spinning of threads everything accelerates towards the end where some of the collateral elements are revealed too instrumental in the final development and there are some situations too banal, without explanation given, that point to in-congruence, which slightly tarnishes the result. The other is the excessive taste of the author for the 'soap opera gimmicks': too often a chapter ends in a cliffhanger where only two things can happen. Do it once or twice, you like it and it makes you say "what a clever chap!", but when you accumulate so many situations like these, you get tired and what you say is "what a moron!"
All this is narrated, in a Titanic style, by an old lady of 400 years (humans of the two thousand seven hundred are more long-lived, which also help the relativistic effects of space travel) in an apparent flashback that puts into perspective the facts and places the conflicts of Humanity with its mechanical nemesis in a kind of endless spiral. Clever narrative plot device. Too bad about the Deus-Ex-Machina ending.