In a few hundred years, the Algol system becomes humanity's new home. The question is: is it a better one? When a crew of arms smugglers botches their latest job, Corps-deserter and crewmember, Aly Erikson, is separated from her brother, the only person she can trust, and left behind to fight for her life. In the aftermath, as she tries to piece together what happened, a crew of roughneck settlers pressgang her into a dangerous mission in the heart of Corps territory. With her enemies closing in, time is running out to get back everything she's lost: her crew, her brother, her options. But no one is taking her gun.
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Contract of Defiance is a top-notch addition to the Sci-Fi action / thriller genre. It contains the kind of action that makes it hard to turn off the light and go to sleep. But there is also great characterization that suggests very interesting back-stories to characters that will leave you asking questions and wanting to hear more about those characters, not just the protagonist. It has a sort of - "Hey, I'm an ex-soldier just trying to survive while a heavy-handed totalitarian government strangles society" - Firefly~ish sort of feel to it.