A star on the rise entertains us with another grand foray through the stars.

For years, young Dane Calydon has prepared himself for adventure. Brought to the amber moon of Candor at an early age, he has been trained in the arts of both warfare and negotiation. But when will he get the chance to use all this training?

The arrival of representatives (through a nearby wormhole) from two heretofore unknown civilizations offers the opportunity he needs. Assigned by his mentor to accompany the Tseir and the Keiroit back to their homeworld of Franconia, Dane is well aware that things may not be what they seem.

His fears are justified when he and his party are taken captive by the dreaded Ellowan, whose implacable hatred for the Tseirs allows no quarter in their current struggle to survive. How, then, can he possibly love such a fierce creature as the beautiful Aiyana, the Ellowan high priestess?

Only by journeying into the heart of Tseir country can he discover the truth of both his mission and his heart.

Although character development is slight and not all reader questions are fully answered, Ms. Piel keeps us on the knife-edge of curiosity as she tantalizes us with her imaginative plot. (July, 368 pp., $5.50)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer