Second of what now appears to be a series, begun with The Dark Wing (2001), Hunt's military science fiction yarn wherein humanity met, fought, and ultimately tamed the xenophobic, birdlike alien zor. Nowadays, if not buddies, the two species peacefully coexist. The zor, however, have psychic powers and their racial mind-set is determined by the dreams of their High Lord, who, lately, has dreamed of an invasion by insect-like aliens who represent, or may actually be, demons lurking in the zor racial memory. Meanwhile, two human ships vanish under mysterious circumstances; an irresponsible rescue mission under Admiral Horace Tolliver meets disaster, with its psychic Sensitives subverted, ships firing on one another, and Tolliver himself raving mad. Commodore Jackie Laperriere of the huge Cicero naval base, together with her executive officer, the zor Ch’k’te, realize that Cicero has been infiltrated by aliens with powerful psychic abilities to coerce, kill, or assume the appearance of anyone—even Jackie and Ch’k’te! So, risking a court martial, Jackie must order the abandonment of Cicero. The zor are convinced that she embodies Qu’u, the mightiest zor warrior hero. At first skeptical, Jackie discovers that she indeed possesses psychic abilities. Elsewhere, meanwhile, still other, even weirder aliens choose to involve themselves in the struggle.
What with the psychic-warrior complications, more Star Wars than Honor Harrington: some fans will relish the exploration of the zor culture; others will grow impatient with the lack of action.