Sheffield's ``The Heritage Universe,'' which also includes Summertide and Divergence ,
reads as one continuous narrative, with each book ending at a good place to take a pause in the
overall story. By this third volume, the group of humans and aliens we have followed throughout
are now tracking the Zardalu. Thought extinct for thousands of years, a small number of these
creatures--who are so deadly that they have become bogeymen in this future history--were preserved
by the mysterious Builders, whom our heroes have been trying to learn more about from the beginning of
their adventures, to little avail. One of the most interesting aspects of this series is the evolution
of professor Darya Lang from the nervous academic on her first trip off her home planet in Summertide
to a woman as or more capable of handling herself in a stressful situation as any of her companions in
Transcendence . But, except for Lang and the android E.C. Tally, the characters are one-dimensional.
Still, Sheffield's narrative is smooth, and the joys, pitfalls and dangers of exploration are conveyed well.
The search for the legendary Builders results in the reemergence of an ancient race of galactic
marauders who must be stopped before they reconquer the world in this sequel to Summertide and Divergence.