The story is set in a distant future where telepathy and psychokinesis have been scientifically proven to exist among a small percentage of the population. These individual Talents are used to transport goods and shuttles from one planet to another.
A freak accident destroys a mining camp on the planet of Altair. One child survives who happens to have more Talent than anyone else on the planet, and every remotely sensitive person on Altair hears the psychic broadcast of her shrieks of terror and unhappiness until she is found. Known only as The Rowan, the child grows up and learns to develop her talent, eventually becoming the head of the Callisto space station. One day, she hears a psychic call for help from a guy named Jeff whose planet happens to be under attack by aliens. She and Jeff end up becoming involved in a cute interstellar romance while saving the world.
While the book involves a romance, it isn’t an obnoxious one. I was a bit afraid that it would be when I picked up the book, mostly because of the terrible cover and the Harlequin-esque description on the back of the book. It wasn’t like that at all. The romance was secondary and was just a part of telling The Rowan’s story, and it seems to me that the publisher was trying to reach a demographic that would normally be intimidated by science fiction by playing up other elements of the novel.
The more Anne McCaffrey books I read, the more I am impressed with her writing. She’s the kind of storyteller that makes you forget about your own surroundings and become immersed in other worlds, and at the same time her stories tend to be somewhat heartwarming and not at all depressing. I’d recommend “The Rowan” to anyone looking for some good escapist sci-fi.