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The long-anticipated fourth entry in Carver's Chaos Chronicles (after 1996's The Infinite Sea) is space opera at its most agreeably and classically science fictional. Someone or something is plotting murder on an interstellar scale, and a small company of exiles led by human John Bandicut may be the galaxy's only chance of salvation. The prospective victims are sentient stars living in the Orion Nebula; half the challenge is simply opening communications. Luckily, Bandicut's allies and sponsors include robots, "noncorporeal symbiotes" and the incredibly ancient multidimensional entity Deeaab. With such a large cast and a parallel plot involving a threat to Earth itself, character development is necessarily sketched broadly. Some may find the narrative overly stage-managed, but Carver skillfully rotates viewpoints and weaves the choreography directly into the plot. This installment is a cut above the earlier books and will be entirely accessible to any reader who appreciates high-powered stellar and n-dimensional physics blended with old-school space-faring. (Nov.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.