For years, Rafi Delarua saw his family suffer under his father's unethical use of psionic power. Now the government has Rafi under close watch but, hating their crude attempts to analyse his brain, he escapes to the planet Punartam, where his abilities are the norm, not the exception. Punartam is also the centre for his favourite sport, wallrunning - and thanks to his best friend, he has found a way to train with the elite.
But Rafi soon realises he's playing quite a different game, for the galaxy is changing; unrest is spreading and the Zhinuvian cartels are plotting, making the stars a far more dangerous place to aim. There may yet be one solution - involving interstellar travel, galactic power and the love of a beautiful game.
This subtle, cerebral novel continues to explore the far-flung future introduced in The Best of All Possible Worlds. The myriad manifestations of humanity have settled on a number of worlds, still recovering from the devastation that rendered one of the major planets inhospitable. Enter Rafi, a young man burdened with potent psychic abilities, and his best friend, Ntenman, who feels oddly responsible for Rafi's wellbeing. As circumstances take the pair from one world to another, always one step ahead of trouble or disaster, they remain united through their love of the popular game known as Wallrunning, where Ntenman excels and Rafi struggles. As Rafi hones his powers, he learns that his ability to draw people together as a nexus may hold the key to restoring an easier, quicker way to travel between worlds, which could revolutionize galactic society. The pacing is slow and the story is understated, not helped by leaps from one perspective to another. Lord's exploration of alien culture and character development overshadows any real action or sense of progress, making this a dry but intriguing offering.