Third in McCaffrey's Crystal Singer series (Killashandra, 1985, etc.)--the life and times of a group of humans infected with the symbiotic longevity crystal of planet Ballybran, and upon whose abilities to locate, mine, cut, and tune crystal the galactic economy depends. This time, Killashandra and her longtime partner Lars Dahl are assigned to investigate a weird new maybe-sentient life form, the Junk; they give it some Ballybran crystal to chew on. Later, when the crystal singer Guild Master dies, Lars takes the job to Killashandra's rage; she storms off-planet to have an affair with a sympathetic fisherman. Meanwhile, Killashandra's memory begins to deteriorate--she is nearly two centuries old--and the Guild, whose members are hidebound and whose methods are archaic, starts to feel the pinch of competition. At first contemptuous of Lars's radical new ideas, Killashandra finally accedes; and, with the help of the now crystal-powered Junk, regains her lost memories, though forfeiting her ability to work with the prized black form of the crystal. Pure soap-opera, offering just enough ideas, plot, and involvement to keep the fans happy and maybe tempt one or two new ones.