Hobb was second only to David Elster, the creator of the Synths, in the field of artificial intelligence. The two worked together closely on the prototypes of the very first Synths – and Hobb was devoted to his brilliant, reclusive mentor. But something went wrong between them, there was a disagreement, and they went their separate ways. Hobb has spent the intervening years building a formidable powerbase, all to prove his path was the right one. He can be a disarmingly ordinary, pleasant man – he's a scientist, an academic, a grandfather. But he pursues his goals with a single-minded zealotry that makes him capable of anything. And exactly what those goals are isn't quite clear.