This was the second book in the series I read about a decade or two ago.

The colony experience a famine after terrorist blew up a factory. The protagonist is on some spiritual journey and was modified to look like a neanderthal. There is also a riddle on how to catch a bird without clipping it's wings. The spaceships are also completely made out of diamond. At some point the protagonist looks at his thoughts on a screen and amuses an audience by thinking of a theorem.

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F! If you look at the suggestions for asking questions you might remember some more details you can edit into your question. For example, what language was it in, do you remember what the cover looked like? – DavidW Jan 4 '19 at 20:30
  • I don't understand the riddle. How do you clip the wings of the bird without catching it? – Neo Darwin Jan 5 '19 at 3:44
  • Friend your op does not match your title – Neo Darwin Jan 5 '19 at 3:46

"How do you catch a beautiful bird without killing its spirit?" is a kind of koan asked of Danlo wi Soli Ringess in the Requiem for Homo Sapiens trilogy by David Zindell which comes after the events in Neverness.

I The Broken God, 1992; II The Wild, 1995; III War in Heaven, 1998.

Both Danlo & his father, Mallory who is the central character in Neverness are sculpted to look like neanderthals.


There are elements of this that remind me of Neverness by David Zindell, it got the Neanderthals and the math elements at least.

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