I read this book about 27-May-2006. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1996. This note was last modified Saturday, 19-Aug-2006 10:48:24 PDT.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
We jump ahead about 18 years. The Fifth Imperium is settling down, but there are political problems from bringing the rescued Achuultani in, problems from people resisting change, problems from religious zealots -- and problems from a few of the top bad-guys from before.
They're cloning Achuultani (the main way the computer reproduces them at home, too), but they're also working on producing the first free Achuultani female in a really long time. Few details are given on how it's done. With humans it would be hopeless -- we're missing half a chromosome. Well, if not hopeless, at least requiring a really advanced bioscience, to figure out what should be there and create it from scratch.
I still think it's stupid to send the Imperial heir on the shakedown cruise of a brand-new ship, their first built themselves. At least, crazy if what you're worrying about is his safety.
A big chunk of this is the kids overthrowing a repressive religion to get access to the technology that will let them build a hypercom. There's maybe a bit of a taste of the "March" books there.