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RITA winner Sinclair's sequel to 2005's Gabriel's Ghost mixes space opera with romance, carrying forward the story of tough ex-Fleet Capt. Chasidah "Chaz" Bergren and her renegade pirate/smuggler lover, Gabriel Ross "Sully" Sullivan. The interstellar Empire is toppling and its enemies are illegally breeding merciless jukors, or war creatures. When Chaz's brother, Thad, is arrested, she fears he'll be forced to reveal Sully's secret: Sully is a superpowered psychic like the ancient and feared Stolorth. Chaz's ex-husband, Fleet Adm. Philip Guthrie, and a high-ranking, powerful and seductive Stolorth join Chaz and Sully's colorful crew as they plan a desperate raid to free Thad and destroy the jukor labs. The pace might be slow for SF fans, with long interpersonal conversations and erotic encounters outweighing the few bits of action and political intrigue, but the smashing climax will please everyone. (Aug.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.