Third (The Real Story, 1990, Forbidden Knowledge, 1991) of the far-future series involving vicious corporations, aliens, pirates, power politics, police, and a wealth of characters you wouldn't want your children to bring home to dinner, from an author whose motto might well be "Life's a bitch, and then you die." Here, malevolent pirate Nick Succorso has sold beautiful, brutalized United Mining Companies cop Morn Hyland to the alien Amnion, who will work monstrous genetic experiments upon her (though, happily, Morn has stolen a supply of Nick's immunity drug). Meanwhile, Morn's force-grown son Davies has been captured by "the Bill," master of the pirate haven and shipyard Billingate. UMC police boss Warden Dias, as part of his power struggle with the malign UMC head honcho Holt Fasner, has sent Nick's deadly rival Angus Thermopyle, now a cyborg enslaved to his programming, and the treacherous Milos Taverner to penetrate Billingate. Both Nick and Angus have urgent personal reasons for rescuing poor Morn: Nick because his crew will mutiny if he doesn't, Angus because he loves her desperately. Good stuff but rather heavy going, what with the inordinately convoluted plot and the dearth of sympathetic characters. Still: persecution and torment piled upon woe is precisely what Donaldson fans keep coming back for.