The long-awaited continuation to Marion Zimmer Bradley's popular science fiction Darkover saga
After generations of struggle to protect the unique native culture of Darkover from the ambitions of the ruthless Terran Federation, the Terrans have finally been forced to abandon Darkover due to interstellar civil war.
As Lew Alton—returned home to the world of his birth after decades spent in exile as the Darkovan representative to the Terran Senate—wrestles with the dark shadows from his past, his daughter Marguerida’s psychic Gifts warn her of impending danger. But danger to whom? Her husband Mikhail, as powerful head of the Hastur Doman is her most obvious worry, for many would stand to gain from his demise.
Meanwhile, unknown to Marguerida, her son, Domenic, searches for his place in a world of shifting loyalties, torn by love for two very different women, and troubled by his destiny as the heir to Hastur.
But while Darkover’s powerful rulers face their personal demons, desperate refugees flood the streets of Thendara, Darkover’s capital city, for in the mountains an ancient menace is once again on the rise—a power against which neither sword nor the psychic sorcery of Darkover can prevail.
The late Marion Zimmer Bradley's influence can still be detected in her posthumous Darkover "collaborations" with Ross. This opener to the Children of Kings trilogy (after 2004's A Flame in Hali, which concluded the Clingfire trilogy) focuses on a chilling threat: the resurgence of trailman's fever, a disease that could wipe out Darkover's population. The key to a cure is Jeremiah Reed, a Terran battle survivor whose memories were wiped by Lewis-Kennard Alton via the Alton Gift of forced rapport. As the medical crisis worsens, Mikhail Lanart-Hastur, Lew's son-in-law and Regent of Darkover, must fend off a political takeover by his power-hungry rival, Francisco Ridenow. Meanwhile, Mikhail's son, Domenic, finds himself torn between romances with Alanna, his unstable cousin, and lovely Illona, a Gifted under-Keeper. Though a slow start and arcane historical references might dissuade new readers, the teasing resolution will excite anticipation in those familiar with the memorable land of the Bloody Sun.