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Mystery, fantasy and science fiction create a backdrop for this far-flung story with an uneasy conclusion. Jeff Vaughan, telepath in hiding, uncovers a bizarre shipment being smuggled from colony planet Verkerk's World: a young human girl, apparently an important cult figure, accompanying a mysterious shielded container. The colony is also the source of rhapsody, a potent drug, and when a friend overdoses under odd circumstances, Vaughan suspects a connection. He and cop Jimmy Chandra set off for Verkerk's World and soon uncover a plot around a rhapsody-fueled religion. As the body count rises, Vaughan starts to wonder whether he's battling a lethal alien force or blocking humanity from achieving transcendence. Brown (Kéthani) sketches a complex future world full of bitter idealists, strange aliens and fantastic landscapes where nothing is as it seems. (Oct.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.