Addition to Saberhagen's long-standing series (The Berserker Throne, 1985, etc.) about the ``berserkers''--insensate smart machines that roam the galaxy seeking out and destroying intelligent organic lifeforms. This time, berserkers emerge from a dark nebula to seize and carry off a space bioresearch station containing a billion human embryos intended to start up a new colony--but, oddly, they leave planet Imatra relatively unharmed. During the action, however, President Dirac's wife, the Lady Genevieve, is mortally wounded, her personality preserved inside a computer by an intelligent computer program that calls itself Nick Hawksmoor, who has fallen in love with her. Dirac orders out a fleet in pursuit of the berserkers, unaware of his wife's fate. In the battle to reclaim the research station, Dirac's ship is damaged, and additionally disabled by the rebellious Hawksmoor--the latter plans to use the station's facilities to grow bodies for himself and the Lady Genevieve. The rescuers, meanwhile, drift farther and farther into the nebula. Back on Imatra, three centuries pass before another berserker raid provokes massive retaliation and pursuit. Still to come: the two human groups meet and form an alliance with the Builders--the mysterious race, considered long vanished, that originally created the berserkers. Dwells rather too long on virtual reality, currently one of science fiction's hot topics, but otherwise reliably plotted and executed: a worthy addition to a popular series.