Chosen as One of the Five Best SF Novels of the Year by Library Journal.
When a young physicist unveils an efficient star drive capable of reaching the core of the galaxy, veteran star pilot Priscilla ?Hutch? Hutchins finds herself back in the deepest reaches of space, and on the verge of discovering the origins of the deadly omega clouds that continue to haunt her.
Space opera specialist McDevitt shoehorns two traditional SF plots into his latest Academy novel (after 2006's Odyssey), doing both stories a disservice. Youthful physicist Jon Silvestri persuades the philanthropic Prometheus Foundation to back tests of a risky interstellar drive that's vastly superior to current technology. Soon series keystone Priscilla Hutchins finds herself aboard a newly outfitted ship dispatched to the galactic core, seeking the source of a million-year-old interstellar menace. The cast is uniformly likable if prickly, but no true protagonist emerges from McDevitt's ensemble. Some sections are leisurely, others rushed. Readers see little of the star drive research, and the space voyage is triply sidetracked to a planet of cheerfully technophobic aliens, an abandoned world with unexpected dangers and a black hole with a tantalizing secret before reaching its stated objective, where the threat's origin is summarily introduced and disposed of in the last 60 pages. Despite considerable inventiveness and an enthusiastic pro-space agenda, the story remains superficial, especially frustrating from a writer of McDevitt's caliber.