Just completed reading this novel. It was published 09/1998 and according to Memory Alpha it takes place in 2374, during the 4th season of the show. This appears to be consistent with the story. Voyager needs to cross the Lhiaarian Empire to avoid a significant detour on their way home. The Empire has a large bureaucracy that Captain Janeway and company have to navigate and they come across a species known as the Skedans who were decimated by the Borg. Mysteriously Voyager is granted an unusually quick audience with the emperor, Beytek. On the way they encounter a hostile insectoid species, the Ku, who seem to want the Skedans as prisoners. Eventually Voyager does reach the homeworld, they find out a revelation about Beytek's actions when the Skedan homeworld was being assimilated and Janeway plans to expose him. However, the Skedans have their own plans. Meanwhile, Seven is being haunted by visions of people she had assimilated, and she is visited by numerous black birds who nobody else can see. At one point she even reverts to the more childlike Annika Hansen. That's the gist of the story without giving any plot points away. As it is a mystery of sorts I don't want to give away too much in the event someone wants to read it. The novel references the episode, "The Raven". Christie Golden was also amused, and a bit saddened to see that the future episode "Infinite Regress" had similar elements to hers. I don't know if that was pure coincidence or if they took some inspiration from the novel, though it's probably a coincidence. There were also elements of the story that reminded me of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, esp. some of the scenes later in the book when Seven is trying to locate the Skedans on the Lhiaarian homeworld. Overall I'd give the book an average rating. It's entertaining and held my attention. It's another retread of Voyager trying to find a shortcut home that a lot of the early novels had. But I give Golden credit for at least framing a different kind of story around that theme. At the same time, there's nothing really that stood out that will stick with me. I don't see myself recalling what occured this novel a year from now.