The warlords are gone, save one. Admiral Marius Drake, betrayed and almost killed by the Grand Senate, has seized power for himself in a military coup. Now, as Emperor Marius, Drake can work to restore the once-great Federation to its former glory. But now that the Grand Senate is gone, the Federation is starting to fall apart. The bureaucrats are running rampant, the corporations are demanding new powers, the colonies want freedom and Earth is collapsing into chaos.
Worse, on the borders, a new interstellar power has arisen and is bracing itself for an all-out invasion of Federation space. For the Outsiders, the descendants of those forced to flee centuries ago by the Federation, there will never be a better chance to smash their hatred oppressors, once and for all. To save the Federation, the Outsiders must be defeated ñ but the Federation may not survive long enough to land the killing blow.
Cincinnatus casts a long shadow ... and those who pick up absolute power may not find it so easy to put it down again.