On the harsh world of Elvidner, a third generation of colonists struggles for survival. Their conditions are primitive, and they are menaced by a native life form: intelligent vampiric bats.

The colonists are largely ignored by the scarcely human “immortals” of the original starship — the “wizards” and “crew.” But a reborn crewman and a wizard who loved and lost a mortal wife have formed a bond with the mortals, one that offers hope for a better life for all.