The sixth part of this biographical fiction, and we're deep into the life story of spacefarer Robbin Nikalishin. In this book, temporal quantum flight resumes at last, for the first time since the disaster that ended Part 1. Part 6, therefore, is largely concerned with preparations for the Big Mission to the stars -- recruiting a crew, team building, training, testing, and dealing with a multiplicity of issues. Tech is a big part of this, of course, and I was impressed by how realistically it's described (but then, I'm not a physicist or engineer!) One thing I really like about all these books is that even though they are hard science fiction, the tech is delivered in digestible form and complemented with human issues anyone can relate to.
A subplot involving one of the Darter survivors deals with religion and its place in the new world of the 28th century, especially the conflict that arises from faith-based convictions.
As the date of the Big Mission approaches, tension builds, reaching fever pitch in the final chapters. Personal issues add to it, in particular Robbie's broken marriage and his conflicted feelings about his estranged wife, Fedaylia. An even more troubling element is his Chief Engineer, Ian Glencrosse, and his irrational conviction that the mission is doomed unless he takes drastic action. The book ends with a convergence of these issues at the very brink of humanity's ascent to the stars.
I can't wait for Part 7!
While I enthusiastically recommend this book to any reader who enjoys adept and thoughful writing, I suggest anyone new to this multi-volume work start with Part 1 and prepare for a long and fascinating experience.
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)