by Don Sakers
The third-richest man in the Galaxy is in trouble.
Rick Hoister, Paranormal and politician in the 25th century, finds his family in danger as a result of his ambition for political power. When the Terran Emperor seizes most of the psi-gifted Hoisters and imprisons them in a secret location, Rick and four cousins must use their wits and the psi abilities to rescue them.
Cousins Ulric and Steve take over a large space settlement by sociological and religious manipulation, turning the settlement into a superb fighting machine ready to be launched in a holy war against the Empire. Their moral sense is troubled by violating the rights of the settlement's popuation for their own ends, and by using superior force for the takeover.
Rick and cousins Telena and Yvonne find themselves on the track of two other families of paranormals: the telepathic Tenny Family, and the psychokinetic Levines. In appealing to these others for help against the Empire, Rick comes face-to-face with aliens who are influencing the Empire for their own purposes -- mirroring the way the Hoisters are influencing Imperials and others to rescue their family.
The Tenny Family quickly decides to aid the Hoisters; the Levines have their own internal divisions and must come to terms with these before finally joining the cause.
The vast power generated by a union of the psi-talented families enables Rick to rescue the imprisoned Hoisters and tempts him to push his ambitions as far as they can go, to the point of considering a focible takeover of the Galaxy. In a series of crises he is further tempted, and finally declines his ambitions, just as Ulric and Steve answer their own moral dilemma by setting free the settlement which they had taken over.
Rick elects to use this vast psionic power for another purpose: to transfer the families to an alternate universe where they can make their own psi-based society. Thus the book's theme emerges and is demonstrated: that the limit of absolute power is the integrity of those who wield it.