Aari has returned! Now he and his lifemate, the brave and beautiful Acorna, can finish rebuilding their once-decimated homeworld. Yet Aari's travels through time have left him oddly changed, and he barely remembers Acorna or their love. And as Aari's actions turn more sinister, Acorna must shift her attention to stopping the destruction of innocents by a vicious criminal. It is precisely the sort of weakness and confusion the dreaded Khleevi have been hoping for, as the brutal insectile oppressors set in motion their final invasion and the total destruction of the Linyaari and the conquest of their world. Though Acorna's heart is wounded, her courage and determination must remain strong in this dark time -- for only then will she be able to rescue the Aari she knows and adores, and halt the bloodthirsty alien menace for good and for all.
More episodic than its predecessors, McCaffrey and Scarborough's finale to the charming Acorna saga will please the two authors' many fans and lovers of horses and cats generally. Last seen in Acorna's Rebels (2003), the unicorn girl has finally located her missing life-mate, Aari, though his exile in time has resulted in a disturbing personality change. Besides helping Aari to recover, Acorna must retrieve a hoard of jewels chrysoberyls used in terraforming, stolen by a troupe of dancing girls with anti-gravity belts from three races of sulfur-based beings, the Liquids, Solids and Mutables. She must also contend with the return of the Khleevi, disgusting insectoid aliens with evil designs on Acorna's home planet. And of course there is Grimalkin, the felinoid shape-changer, whose antics delay the well-deserved happy ending after all the bopping back and forth through time, across space and in flight from the Khleevi. While this light SF/fantasy romp is a hopeless proposition for newcomers to Acorna's travels, it serves as a fitting coda to the series. Both Acorna and Aari and their creators can ride off into the starlight with clear consciences. FYI:McCaffrey is the author, with Todd McCaffrey, of Dragon's Kin (Forecasts, Oct. 13, 2003) and other titles in her popular Pern series. Scarborough is the author of the Nebula Award winning novel The Healer's War.