This is the final book in the long-running series about the bio-construct, Dr Cherijo Torin.
Cherijo is shocked to discover she is missing five years of her life to an alternate personality, the aggressive, knife-wielding Akkabarran, Jarn. Worse, she is heartbroken that her husband, Duncan Reever, loved Jarn, not her and that daughter Marel mourns the loss of Jarn.
What’s a bio-construct to do but leave love behind and jaunt to a Rift in space that catapults her and the crew back a few million years?
Then everything she thought she knew about her father, Maggie and the black crystal changes.
This book is action-packed from the first page. I might even say ‘manic’ as the end of the series closes in. Cherijo is slowly regaining her memories of the fateful day she disappeared and why Jarn appeared. She’s also dealing with the rejection of Duncan, the distance of her daughter and Xonea’s obsession with her. The rift ship and intriguing crystal also needs resolution and when Maggie turns up to warn her not to go on the mission, Cherijo tells her where to go.
Cherijo turns to medicine when her private life falls into a heap – an alter-formed Hsktskt, PyrsVar who wants to return to Hsktskt form, presents a unique challenge to her.
Throughout the series, Cherijo has been physically and mentally tortured – how much can an immortal bear without going mad? Quite a bit, although a lot of the pain is through memories and realisations, of putting the complete story together.
I dislike Reever, since he is the cause for the majority of Cherijo’s anguish. He’s had plenty of time to learn human emotion, and he turns into an SOB in this book, too, but I guess you don’t get to choose whom you love. His one redeeming feature is that he stood by her, but even that was for selfish reasons.
The ending was appropriate and tied up all the threads: who her father is, who Maggie is, the secret of the black crystal and how to get rid of it.
The book keeps moving, with carefully laid clues, and after nine books of adventure, emotional distress and physical torment, Cherijo deserves the peace she finds.
I doubt Ms Viehl is finished with the Stardoc universe, it's too well formed and has the most interesting characters.
This is most definitely a re-readable series and worthwhile for anyone who enjoys medical science fiction.