The fifth and final instalment in the GAP sequence: Stephen Donaldson's fascinating universe peopled with characters of a passion and intensity only he could create.
As the conflict between humankind and the Amnion heads for crisis, Morn Hyland, the cyborg Angus Thermopyle and the survivors on board the crippled starship Trumpet must return from deep space to Earth. Their mission is to prevent all-out war with the aliens, which would leave humanity to pay a terrible price.
But the Amnion react with swift fury, and suddenly Earth is threatened with fiery destruction ...
Drawing on a rich vein of science fiction, Donaldson brings to a resounding, though not triumphant, conclusion his Gap series, begun with The Gap into Conflict (1992) and continued through The Gap into Madness (1994). The struggle between Warden Dios, director of the United Mining Companies Police, and Horst Fasner, CEO of United Mining Companies itself, reaches a climax here. So does the tension between the human race and the alien Amnion, exacerbated by human development of a drug that prevents people from being mutated into the aliens. Meanwhile, much-victimized Morn Hyland and her motley crew are heading for Earth and arrive at the same time as an Amnion warship. The first third of the novel wins no marks for pacing, but later portions pick up speed, with the final battles near Earth satisfying all requirements for logic, excitement and catharsis. Donaldson's usual weaknesses are in evidence: substitution of scenery-chewing and angst for characterization, and an abundance of prolix passages. Too, this volume may confound those new to the series. But it's a crowd-pleasing story told on a grand scale, SF adventure with a genuinely galactic feel.