Third in the Quest for Tomorrow novels (In Alien Hands, 1997) and, logically, a wrap, though the publishers continue to bill it as a series. For newcomers, there’s an excellent synopsis: the Terran Confederation faces two alien threats, from the lizard-like Hunzza and the wolfish Alba. But the programs encoded in young Jim Endicott’s genes enable him to access the “mind arrays,” a supercomputer comprising a billion linked human brains, that’s vastly superior to anything either alien race can muster. Now, however, Hunzza and Alba may be ready to combine their forces to wipe Terra out. Why? Well, they suspect that humanity’s a Leaper culture, on the point of a sudden, explosive development into terrifying, godlike superiority. Jim, though, is psychologically damaged, having accidentally killed his father; also, last time out, he was forced to enter the mind arrays to battle a human megalomaniac. This entity lives on inside the mind arrays as the manipulative computer-ghost Outsider, now demanding that Jim destroy both alien races. But a new factor emerges that Jim must investigate: a planet of pacifist Hunzza claiming to have their own God, and demonstrating inexplicable connections with Earth’s ancient past. Before the dust settles, Jim is killed (only to rise again in another body), defeats both Hunzza and Alba, confronts the Hunzza God inside a black hole, and rearranges reality to better effect. Gripping, scientifically lucid space adventure, told in a terse, snazzy style with plenty of cliff-hanging incidents: overall, much the best of the various series (Star Treks; the sleuthing Tek yarns; the grumpy-but-lovable diplomat Benton Hawkes novels) appearing under the Shatner letterhead.