The Lord Paramount governs planet Haven, whose Covenant ruthlessly circumscribes the behavior and outlook of women. Thus the educated, highly intelligent Lady Genevieve must marry a nobleman chosen by her father and bear a child. Genevieve’s mother, long dead, prescribed peculiar training exercises, offered mysterious advice, and sang eerie songs; Genevieve herself falls into odd trances that seem to foretell the future. When Paramount orders her to attend his palace, she meets and swoons over the Marshal’s handsome and appreciative equerry, Colonel Aufors Leys; together, these two examine the mysteries that surround them. Paramount and his male cronies are hundreds of years old—but how? Why do so many young women die while nursing their newborns? Why is singing forbidden? And what commodity does Paramount trade in exchange for offworld luxuries? Prince Delganor, Paramount’s repugnant brother, announces his intent to marry Genevieve. Aghast, she runs away—but the strange singing sea-creatures of Haven urge her to return. Inexplicably, the Prince permits her to marry Aufors, and seems pleased that she’s pregnant! Genevieve, however, must accompany the Prince to the desert land of Mahahm, where he hopes to persuade the ruling Shah (like Delganor, another ancient) to increase the supply of P’naki, a powder that purportedly cures the fever that strikes down young women. After giving birth, Genevieve will learn the fate that Delganor intended for her, discover the truly horrifying source and significance of P’naki, and meet the leaders of a secret resistance to the brutal Shah. Once the armed forces of the dying planet Ares invade and occupy Haven seeking the substance that prolongs life, Genevieve decides it’s time to act. But first she must discover the astounding purpose of her mother’s legacy. Yet another deeply felt, brilliantly wrought ecological-feminist parable, not threatening but challenging, liberating and wise: Tepper (the wonderful Six Moon Dance, 1998, etc.) has lodged firmly upon a pinnacle of excellence.