The star systems of the Mageworlds are linked by magic. Only when trained Mages have found a Way to a new world can the great colonizing and trading ships follow. But beyond the furthest worlds is a great gap, beyond which, hint the legends, lie vast, rich human worlds long lost to the Mages' trade.
Now the most powerful Mage-circle ever is determined to walk to those worlds, to reunite humanity's sundered branches and make a fortune in the process. And young Arekhon sus-Khalgath, scion of the most powerful of the clans of starship builders, has left his inheritance to join them.
But immense forces are arrayed against them. Blood will be spilled, and dynasties thrown down, before the worlds of mankind are again united. For the first time in living memory, the Mages will go to war--with themselves.
Set 500 years before the five other Mageworld books (The Price of the Stars, etc.), this prequel explains the origins of the Magewars and the apprenticeship and growth of Arekhon Khreseio sus-Khalgath sus-Peledaenm, aka 'Rekhe, a Mage and major series character. Combining magic, space opera and time travel, the plot offers some surprises, though less suspense and action than expected. The universe is literally split, and a Mage, Garrod, believes that other planets lie beyond the Void, so he brings together a Circle to transport him magically into the unknown, then to follow by starship. 'Rekhe becomes leader of the Circle, balances two love affairs and rescues the mission from disaster--for now. The wars on both sides of the Void, cultural differences, imbalances of power and actions of the Mages on first contact (including stealing a ship) all foreshadow further war. Easily read apart from the preceding volumes, this novel offers added foreboding for the series reader. Where can the series go from here?