Plundering innocent worlds; that is Doc Roberts' job and he is good at it. He is awarded a Letter of Marque and a territory to hunt in exchange for his service to the Alliance and of course, a cut of his take.
The Alliance government can't openly operate in Coalition territory without starting another war, so they use privateers like Captain Roberts to destabilize governments and cause unease among the people, in hopes that they will ask for Alliance protection.
Cheating and treachery cause Captain Roberts to reevaluate his loyalty. He can live with a little pilfering, but not outright stealing from him and trespassing on his planet. The Alliance has gone too far. It is time to teach them that there is a price to pay for stealing from him.
The Alliance sends a snobbish young captain, Captain Thornton, to assassinate Doc's wife. Her death is the start of outright war, at least for Captain Roberts. Now, he is both a pirate and a rebel, with people on both sides of the border who either love him, or want him killed.
After fighting a duel with the Alliance's promising new captain, torturing him, and leaving him for dead, he has made powerful enemies in the Alliance hegemony. The Alliance military leaders want to make Captain Roberts suffer like he has made their rising star suffer.
One man can only do so much, and Doc is getting tired. It is time to pass the reins of command to his son. But first, he must crush his son's dreams and teach him what it means to be an Alliance citizen.