**** Spoilers follow, but that's OK because you want to avoid the book like the plague anyway ****
Having recently read the first four books in the Time Traders series (which are OK but not the best of Norton), I expected this book to be more of the same.
I was disappointed to find out that the book was not in fact written by Norton, and this is clear from the cloying parsing and utter lack of dramatic plotting which the book suffers from throughout. Griffin, the co-author, is obviously the author of this book, with little to no input from Andre Norton herself.
Worse, it was obvious to me that Griffin's original effort was not a Time Trader's story at all, but a book written by her otherwise, and then hastily and ineptly adapted to wedge it into the Time Traders series. Yep, add a chapter to the beginning and to the end, globally replace a few character names, insert a few references to the project, and there you have it ... a Time Traders series book! Well, not really.
Griffin is so in love with her characters that they NEVER suffer a setback to their plans, completely relieving any possibility of dramatic tension. The very evil plans of the bad guys are briefly discussed by the bad guys ... and never again bear on the course of the book.
The two sets of 'bad guy' leaders are found and dispatched in the most contrived and simplistic way (un)imaginable.
Ashe's contributions to the story are effectively completely dumped for Griffin's newly introduced character Eveleen Riordan, with whom she is completely in love.
Let me just tell you that Ross Murdock falls in love and marries Riordan during the course of this book. Knowing that, you can safely bypass this and you are caught up for the next installment.
You may notice that Griffin was dumped as the new author of the series very quickly after the appearance of this stinker.
I'm not a big fan of authors turning over their work to a 'guest author', and having their name appear on the cover only to spur sales. This book is a perfect example of why that can go VERY VERY wrong. The book has nothing of Norton but a few character names. The plot is completely broken, and even action sequences near the end that resolve the conflict are contrived and unworkable.
Book 6, written by the replacement 'guest author', Sherwood Smith, is a big improvement, and I recommend that you skip this pitiful sell out and go directly to Echoes in Time!!