After a bit of a dip in the last volume, this one is an improvement as a major new character is introduced and others become more well defined. The character is Marc Remillard, part of a family that had been referenced obliquely before and referred to as the main family of psychics in humanity. In my first review within this series, I mentioned a Paramount Grand Master being the pinnacle of psychic ability, and Marc is Paramount in a number of psychic powers (the 5 again are farsensing, telekinesis, coercion, redaction/healing, and creativity). He also lead a failed rebellion among the humans against the Galactic Millieu in order to allow humans to explore their destiny without alien oversight.
Aiken Drum becomes the focus in this volume and we learn much more about his psyche and his abilities (more on his powers in a bit). May also finally starts exploring the Firvulang royalty in greater depth and it was very refreshing. I really enjoyed seeing the co monarchs of Sharon and Ayfa try to modernize some of the traditions of their people, while also raising a son.
Felice also plays a major role in this novel and she, along with Aiken, suddenly become much more powerful, to the point where they surpass even Marc. Although Marc had been the dominant psychic power in the galaxy when he was in the Millieu, both Felice and Aiken surpass him in the Pliocene time. Felice spontaneously is able to d-jump, or teleport and Aiken completely consumes two extremely strong psychics and integrates their powers into his own. No explanation is ever given as to how or why these abilities manifest or why they both inexplicably dwarf Marc in psychic armament.
That aside, the novel is really fun to read, and Marc plays a huge role in that. The Miltonic Satan is a figure that has always fascinated me and May makes it very clear that Marc is directly inspired from that character. He is someone who is charismatic, manipulative and completely convinced that his rebellion was justified (we find out more about his rebellion in the next several books). You can tell how much the character affected me by my screen name. Marc is called Abaddon first in this novel.
I loved this book, even with some of its inconsistencies, and will be posting my review of the last book that takes place in the Pliocene time shortly. Spoiler, it is probably my favorite