Julian May has that ability to totally immerse you in her universe, an ability shared by Tolkein and very few other Fantasy writers. You really feel part of her world, especially as this book is set in the current era and the near future, rather than in the distant future or the past. But this is not the real world that we all know, it is a reality she has constructed and developed in painstaking detail. This is an alternative universe where humankind is poised on the brink of destruction, overseen by an alien civilization who hope that we will avoid destroying ourselves before achieving our evolutionary potential - a potential where we evolve higher mindpowers. The way May describes these psychic abilities is truly breathtaking, you really feel that what is being described is fact not fiction. The only quibble I have with this book is that there are some elements that aren't fully explained, and maybe the book is slightly overlong. But I would urge all readers to persevere because the twist at the end is great, and will also have an added meaning to those who have read her Pliocene books.