Founded by pioneering refugees traveling at sub-light speeds, a cluster of colonies is lost to Earth in the vastness of space. When faster-than-light (FTL) travel does become possible scouts and traders rediscover them, bringing prosperity and an end to their isolation.
Then those same ships and traders vanish and with them FTL travel vanishes. Without that civilizations crumble.
On the colony planet of Henderson is a foundling girl with white hair, silver eyes, a wondrous musical talent, and a cat named Kapu. Together with a tavern owner whose son is lost in space, a cook with dreams of the stars, and a grounded spaceman, they seek the keys to bringing FTL travel back.
But not everyone wants that, while others want her talents for their own purposes.
In the end, it is her singing that makes the difference.