Volume 3 is a return to form after the redundant volume 2 of this series. There are revelations about the Sekoi, the mysterious aboriginal cat-like people of the planet, Anara. The plot goes to some unexpected places and, unlike the previous volume, the quest makes sense.
Two of the protagonists seem to develop; Carys and the Sekoi. The Keeper and his scholar seem much the same as when we first met them at least in terms of character.
There are various mutant/genetically modified creatures on Anara; one of them lives in water and is called an Avanc. This is an Anglicisation of the Welsh, Afanc, a mythical monster. There's a great sculpture of one outside the Betws y Coed Tourist Information Centre. Go look if you're ever there. (It's a picturesque village in North Wales.) The girl protagonist also has a Welsh name; Carys. So I think Fisher wanted to sneak some Welsh culture to Anara. Maybe one of the Makers was Welsh, or a group of the colonists?
The Galen/The Crow is interesting in the context of some of Fisher's later works. He's pretty unpleasant and deeply flawed, despite being driven towards goals that are good and unselfish. In Corbenic and Crown Of Acorns the main
protagonists are similar but less
sympathetic Galen. That trend started here I think. These flawed characters seem very realistic but limited sympathy for the protagonists weakens those books. So weirdly Fisher has got better and
worse in the last decade or so.