Sequel to Freedom's Landing (1995), chunk two of McCaffrey's latest interstellar saga. Following the invasion of Earth by humanoid alien Catteni, a group of human survivors and rebels--including Earth girl Kris Bjornsen and her aristocratic, renegade Catteni lover, Zainal--has been dumped on planet Botany, a farm world run by machines. The parasitic Eosi rule the Catteni as overlords by commandeering suitable Catteni bodies, though so far Zainal has avoided his own nemesis, the Ix Mentat. Kris, Zainal, and the colony's military bigwigs capture several Catteni spacecraft before Botany's absentee landlords, the Farmers, show up. Highly advanced, telepathic shapeshifters, the Farmers deplore interspecies conflict but decline to intervene; they do, however, screen Botany from Catteni spacecraft. Zainal leads a raid on planet Barevi to pick up goods looted from Earth, and learns that the Ix Mentat, infuriated by the Farmers' effortless superiority in denying the Catteni access to Botany, has used brain-burning mind probes on captured humans in the vain hope of discovering useful new technologies. McCaffrey helpfully recaps the previous book's events; overall, series fans will be delighted, although they'll know how this one ends: It doesn't.