Pam McCutcheon's fine talent once again takes us on a journey through the stars to the planet Oasis, whose people are faced with the critical choice of whether or not to join the United Planets Federation.

Others may favor the proposed union, but Councilman Eron does not. He cannot ignore the prophecy that such a choice will result in disaster for his world, but a conflicting prediction does leave some room for doubt. Eron therefore agrees to allow a beautiful Terran doctor to accompany him back to his community in hopes that she can heal his sister from the madness linked with the talent for prophecy.

Although Eron is certainly the most stubborn man she has ever met, Juelle cannot resist the chance to learn more about the origins of the pythias, women who bond with the native moncats and develop the vision of a seer under certain conditions.

Neither of them expects to end up in the middle of a coup attempt, which they do. Neither of them expects to fall in love with each other, which they do. And neither of them expects the fate of Oasis to hang in the balance of their love, which it does.

Ms. McCutcheon is a spirited storyteller who keeps us nicely entertained with lively, albeit not always credible, adventure and sensual romance. (Sep., 320 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
M. Helfer