Damia and Afra-Raven-Lyon had reared their children in a brilliant and unorthodox way. All their young had been 'paired' when six months old with the furry, one-eyed Mrdinis, the only other sentient beings in the Alliance, who could communicate with humans by their 'dream messages'. Together, Man and Mrdini worked to create prosperous worlds and guard against the terrible threat of the annihilating Hivers.
And now, in the deeps of Space, Mrdini scouts had crossed the path of three Hive ships -- ships that were giant hulks of cell units, bearing the queens and workers out into space, to breed and multiply and destroy wherever they found a viable planet.
It was the four elder children of Damia -- Laria, Thian, Rojer and Zara -- all uniquely talented in their various ways, who were to play their part, helped by their life-long Dini friends, in the conquering and investigation of the Alien threat of the Hivers.
Here McCaffrey introduces another generation in her saga of a family of powerful psionic Talents ( The Rowan and Damia ) raised to serve the Nine Star League. The eight children of Damia and Afra Raven-Lyon approach the threshold of maturity on Iota Aurogae, where they have been raised with young Mrdinis, the only other intelligent life that humankind has encountered--save for the pernicious Hive Culture, which has sought to destroy all other species in its drive to expand through the universe. The eldest teenager, Laria, is sent to the homeworld of the Mrdinis to improve relations between the two species. Thian, the oldest boy, encounters residual human prejudice and almost loses his life when he serves as liaison with a mixed human-Mrdini fleet. The other children contribute their own Talents and insight during stressful periods of human-nonhuman interaction. Certain to be a success with McCaffrey's fans, this initial entry in a promising series offers winning, carefully developed young characters, an attractive alien society and an enemy drawn with more than a touch of mystery and ambiguity. Science Fiction Book Club main selection; Doubleday Book Club alternate.