Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I found this surprisingly good. Surprising because I tend towards the soft and literary end of SFF, and also because I bloody hate spiders. So much hate.
I looked up the author and was not at all surprised to see his roleplay interests. This would be a fantastic roleplay setting (and hey, the spider story is good too). He does a good job connecting you to characters who change (as in live, die, and are replaced by new ones) through the centuries.
I found some of the human portions slow but the whole thing pulls together nicely at the end, with subtle moments of profundity and quirky, interesting observations and insights.