Here, we start to accelerate forward in time a little bit faster as she introduces us to Scottish lass Dorothea Macdonald, who figures out very early on that she has vast mental powers and also decides she wants as little to do with them as possible, causing her to basically hide them and pretend to be normal, difficult to do when you learn how to read minds and can hear what everyone thinks about you. Out of all the subplots this one feels the most like May is marking time until we get to the foretold Metaphysical Rebellion that Marc is apparently supposed to lead, so she has to keep checking in on it to remind us that she hasn't forgotten about it but clearly nothing is going to happen until the third book. The concept of the rebellion itself is interesting in that May has a number of people who should be protagonists talking frankly about overthrowing the aliens, who have so far been nothing but nice, giving the plot a bit of a subtle xenophobic streak that the book intelligently doesn't call attention to, letting you decide for yourself whether these people are doing it for a good cause or simply out of a misplaced racism. something that the book takes a stab at revealing at the very end although that by that point the number of possibilities are fairly limited unless you figure she's going to stick Fury in someone random. Their tendency to strike without warning even while basically hiding in plain sight gives the book an off kilter edge at times and while their eventual confrontation with Dorothea almost pushes the book toward a superhero comic, it is at least a dramatic high point. The scenes with him make the book come a bit more alive, especially as the narrative skips forward in time (mostly to give Dorothea a chance to get older and catch up with everyone else) and you can see his development.
Dorothea Macdonald is a little girl who has amazing metapsychic superpowers but even from a young age knowing that she would be destined to play an integral part in the milieu she tries desperately to hide her powers from her family and officials who have an inkling of her metapyschic prowess and live a simple and quiet life but things take a drastic turn when her mother, aunt and uncle are murdered by the mythic Fury and his minions the Hydras.
On re-reading I skipped a lot of the political discussions.
The little girl who will become Saint Illusio Diamond Mask is so frightened of her mind powers that she keeps them hidden unreachably away. We learn throughout DIAMOND MASK that Dorothea is not the only person reluctant to submit to the educational methods of the Galactic Milieu. There is a growing Rebel movement, made up of humans who fear Unity, the mental mingling that is predicted for their race when they reach the crucial population of ten billion. The mental monster known as Fury is encouraging the Rebels, influencing key people, determined to rule a human empire free of domination by the exotic races of the Milieu. DIAMOND MASK is principally the story of Dorothea, but her early life brings to light the things that are most wrong with the Galactic Milieus handling of humans. Dorotheas determination to put an end to her mothers killers leads her into dangerous paths.
Everyone needs a bit of comfort reading sometimes.
Very much a 'middle book', Diamond Mask is a useful read for those who want a full understanding of the series and properly sets us for the main action in Magnificat. Still, it is an enjoyable read for those who have got this far with the series, and has some interesting nuggets of background information.
The initial four books make up The Saga of Pliocene Exile. The bridge book deals with first contact and the emergence of humans with supernatural powers such as telekinesis. Also unfortunately, the books are out of print, but can be easily found second hand.
And in the end, no one -- not Jack, not Fury, not even the Galactic Milieu -- would be a match for the awesome powers of the girl who would come to be called Diamond Mask . Only Jack the Bodiless and the girl called Diamond Mask can stop Fury.