Fifth and, according to the publisher, last in the SF series (ranging from The Rowan, 1990, to Lyon’s Pride, 1994, McCaffrey providing a solidly detailed synopsis) about the descendants of the prodigiously talented Rowan. Gifted with telepathic and teleportational abilities, these Talents are much in demand for star-spanning communications, freight movements, and so forth, working out of specially built Towers for Jeff Raven’s Federated Teleport and Telepath organization. But complications have accumulated in this sprawling family saga. Some ungifted humans, jealously resenting FT&T’s primacy and influence, have mounted a terrorist campaign to intimidate or destroy the Talented. The weasel-like alien Mrdini, Human allies, are allowing family members to raise ‘Dini children in their homes to foster mutual understanding and cooperation—another source of resentment among the Rowan families— enemies. Both races are threatened by a third alien species, the insectoid and expansionist Hivers, who exterminate all competing life-forms on planets they select for colonization, rejecting all attempts at communication. Neither the ethical Humans nor Mrdini can simply obliterate them, so a family-inspired project gets underway to ascertain what drives Hiver expansion and if possible to modify that drive. The available Talents are few and constantly in demand, with some developing even more sophisticated abilities’so how can Jeff ensure that future needs will be met? Cuddly family/romance/alien-contact saga with useful ideas but far too many characters distinguishable only by their silly names. Still, fans of the series will plunge right in.