Humans and Mrdini have joined together to fight off the invasion of the mysterious hive-aliens who purge M-class planets of all life-forms, and then colonize the newly desolate planets with their own flora and fauna, living there until overpopulation becomes a problem, and then move on to repeat the process. This story begins with the telekinetic Rojer, one of four of Damia’s “talented” children. He is nearly forced into a terrible destructive act, that comes close to destroying the fragile Human and Mrdini alliance. With the aid of his family, however, he recovers and the alliance is saved, only to be confronted with the prospect of many more invaders and the establishment of a new hive- homeworld. With their various talents and acquired experiences, the Rojer and his three siblings manage to curtail the invasion, though the door is left open for another sequel.
The difficulty in reading this book is two-fold. First, it is almost impossible to make sense of the situation without having read the previous novels. It cannot be underscored enough that this is not a stand-alone novel. Second, and most unusually, McCaffrey does not take her usual care with developing the characters in this novel. Most are flat and do not engage the reader’s sympathy or empathy. The plot dominates this novel, and even then it is a bit more simplistic than most readers have come to expect from McCaffrey’s other enterprises. Nevertheless, longtime fans will look forward to the next installment in this enjoyable series.