The overall story arc, more than forty years in the making, focuses a generation of kids with remarkable abilities who are born into extraordinary times; the secondary focus is their changing world.
The first set of stories are adventures, mostly with kids, who deal with some fairly hot action. Just as they are beginning to see a pattern emerging, and to look at the world—and what's happening—in broader terms, they meet kids at least as extraordinary as themselves.
Enemies. That second arc of stories, when they come up against a group of boys who have been trained at least as well as them—or better—basically takes them through their teen years. The adventures they undergo as they come of age not only test talents, but moral and ethical dilemmas, responsibility, power, and all the permutations of friendship and love. And hatred.
The third arc, Ride Anything Under the Sun, is the climactic arc, testing all to their limits, and causing profound changes, and the insights that come of it when war is brought to the world, Norsunder deciding it is time to harvest human life, and this time do it right. Adventure, humor, terror, heroic action—sacrifice—uneasy alliances; beauty, love. The great dance of time, and consequence, and meaning alters their focus, and one of the subthemes is what makes a family, particularly when life circumstances have guaranteed that some will always walk the borders of what culture calls normal.
And so the fourth arc concerns them as adults, with adult responsibilities. Influence. Mannered societies, in which brilliance expresses itself by making of life a form of art. Is the human spirit immutable? Weapons can sometimes be clashes of philosophy. Peacetime reformation. Skirlings of action here and there, as the detritus of the dark times tumbles down the timestream. Contemplation—and power. The clear passions of childhood are imbued with complexity—and the concomitant degrees of intensity. Some have children of their own, and their perspective must change yet again as they raise those children to… what? A look into the great unknown.