Book IX of The Childe Cycle. A lone ship entering Earth space rouses Hal Mayne from his researches aboard the Final Encyclopedia. Piloting the craft is Dorsai Amanda Morgan, returning from her work with resistance fighters of the Younger Worlds, bearing terrible – though not unexpected – news.  Bleys Ahrens, commanding the cross-cultural hybrids known as the Others, is tightening his deadly hold on the Younger Worlds, bleeding them of able adults and materials with which to build a space war fleet. With a massive attack through the phase-shield, he will cause the Younger Worlds to wither and die, once more confining the human race to Earth. Amanda beckons Hal to the planet Kultis, where the monastery-like settlement of the Chantry Guild has mastered the powerful Alternate Forces so inextricably linked to the Creative Universe Hal resolutely sought…so secretly guarded behind their motto: Destruct. As the Occupational Troops close in on the Guild’s hidden enclave, all the years of struggle – all the lives Hal has lived – converge in what may be humanity’s final critical moment…Cover art by Jim Burns.