The central premise of the book is the following. A person ("Mr. Charlie") a few years in our future dies. He has arranged to have his head cryogenically preserved in hopes he can be revived and get to see the future. 1000 years later, the head is found and the brain is made active again. However, according to the law, because the person was declared dead way back when, the re-activated brain is not considered to be a person. It is viewed as property to be owned and used as a computer-controller for industrial purposes. After many years as the controller device at an asteroid mining facility, Mr. Charlie devises a way to use the mining equipment to broadcast a radio message about his plight.
Monk is a self-directing AI robot who was designed to include a program which makes him fascinated with people and their behavior. He receives Mr. Charlie's broadcast and feels a need to rescue Mr. Charlie. This requires him to become an outlaw of sorts and to find a way to get Mr. Charlie to a society that has different norms so they will allow Mr. Charlie to get a new body and live as a person.
Along the way, we see or hear about a few different future societies. Most people in this future are genetically modified to one degree or another from today's humans. Mr. Charlie is considered to be an "archaic human form". There are "reservations" on Earth for people who look mostly like today's human, and these are considered to be "traditional humans". Many people are more modified. The central group in Solis have a form more like an extra large kangaroo. Some people seem to be consciousness stored in artificial or organic brains.
Monk is assisted in his efforts by a woman, Mei Nill. They face legal forces as well as armed forces trying to take possession of Mr. Charlie.
The book provides some interesting ideas on future tech, views of possible future societies, raises questions about personhood and consciousness, and does so in a reasonably hard SF framework.
The societies we see don't tend to be so appealing. The conclusion of the book rests more on the good guys / bad guys thread of the book than the above elements which interested me more. But I still felt it deserved a good rating and would recommend it to those who want more than space adventure, good vs. evil, or a futuristic backdrop to their SF.