A big, bustling, but curiously uninvolving space-fantasy that depends on the quite unbelievable premise that the wandering Rom (Gypsy) peoples of Earth are human/alien refugees from space who built Atlantis before migrating to India and thence dispersing across the globe. In the fourth milennium, the Rom have multiplied and prospered; and, thanks to psi-powered Rom spaceship pilots, humans have spread through the galaxy. The King of the Rom, Yakoub, has retired from the pressures of the office to a remote ice-world where he meditates on his (intermittently interesting) past and goes astro-travelling--""ghosting""--through history (these matters constitute the bulk of the yarn). While in exile he is visited by various emissaries of galactic civilization: the Rom are threatening to choose a new King; the Gaje (non-Rom) are about to choose a new Emperor, but all three candidates are mutually hostile. Eventually, Yakoub is forced to return when news arrives that his evil, embittered son Shandor has usurped the kingship; too, the old Emperor has died and the three potential successors have declared war on one another. Through patience and guile Yakoub comes out on top, finally becoming both Rom King and Gaje Emperor. Plenty of embroidery, then, but not much of a plot--and Yakoub simply doesn't have enough personality or drive to carry readers through the long boggy stretches. Even the Silverberg inventiveness falters, often blurring into meaningless lists of names or descriptives. Overall: a hard-working but frequently tedious, decidedly patchy saga--and a major disappointment.