The Real Story was just a preview to this action-packed tome... The Gap series steps on the accelerator with Forbidden Knowledge. Beautiful cop Morn Hyland, desperate and in pain aboard Captain's Fancy, controls her body and mind with her illegal zone implant, recreating herself as a superbeing worthy of holding Captain Nick Succorso's affections. Jealousy among the crew, threats of rape and ship self-destruction, prisoner torture, and government cyborg programs keep things moving along. Alien Amnioni seeking genetic domination over humankind enter the scene with new technologies such as mutagens and force-growing fetuses. Bite your fingernails while you live it all (vicariously!) through brilliant survivor Morn and villain-turned-conspirator Angus Thermopyle.
The second novel in the Gap Cycle (begun with The Real Story ) continues the story of Morn Hyland, security cop for the vast United Mining Companies, and her travails among space pirates. Having escaped the clutches of tormentor Angus Thermopyle, Morn sides with Angus's arch-competitor, Nick Succorso. Morn uses her ``zone implant'' (a device for regulating bodily sensations) to feign desire for Nick while trying to thwart his plans for her and recover from her trauma with Angus. Gradually she exerts influence over Nick, but incurs his growing distrust. Their battle of wills takes them to the forbidden Amnion, where they struggle to get what they need from the aliens without losing ground to each other. Donaldson combines detailed character analyses and some perverse plot twists with the stuff of standard space opera, and this unusual mixture raises the story far above the average. But the characters remain largely unsympathetic, the plot is bogged down by Morn's self-pity, and the constant refrains of cruelty, hatred, self-loathing and egocentricity are suffocating. Readers willhope Donaldson reveals his characters' good sides in subsequent volumes.