An unwary boy is hurled into an ancient intergalactic conflict in this labyrinthine first installment of the Children of Hathor series. In the woods near his house, Jason and his friends stumble upon a hidden spaceship belonging to two aliens from the planet Elam, who inform Jason that their archenemies, the Thothians, are scheming to take over Earth and have abducted his parents and replaced them with robots. The aliens persuade Jason to come with them, as only he can thwart the villains and rescue his parents and the planet. This mission entails a wild, danger-filled journey through space in search of a magical talisman, located on a distant planet, which will not only give him the power to accomplish these goals but also earn him a place on the revered council that controls intergalactic affairs. The quest brings the travelers face-to-face with aliens both evil and benign and involves some suspenseful moments, especially as it winds to a close. Yet the characters are one-dimensional and the novel's pacing is uneven, its action impeded by unwieldy details of the history of interplanetary rivalries. Ages 12–18.