Fifth and final part--maybe--of Donaldson's hypercomplicated galactic Gap saga (Chaos and Order, 1994, etc.). The power struggle between corrupt but enlightened United Mining Companies police boss Warden Dios and the malign, manipulative UMC chief executive Holt Fasner has reached a critical stage. Meanwhile, the Amnion, aliens who intend to conquer human space by mutating humans into Amnion, close in on Dios's pawns, raging cyborg Angus Thermopyle, brutalized cop Morn Hyland and her clone/son Davies, and biology whiz Vector Shaheed. The latter has invented an antidote to the Amnion's mutation--inducing infection--but will he survive long enough to tell Dios about it? Not that Donaldson provides a summary of these events--you're supposed to remember all this, or else pick it up as you go along. Anyhow, eventually the threat posed by Fasner (he's done a deal with the Amnion, betraying the human race in return for immortality) will be neutralized, and the human power struggle resolved; but the Amnion, despite a temporary setback, remain, leaving plenty of scope for further sequels. Not quite as apocalyptic as the title suggests, though there's more than enough anguish, woe, and screeching metal to keep addicts hooked; for Donaldson, it's almost an upbeat conclusion.