Admiral James Gavain is enmeshed in the politics of the post-Dissolution colonised galaxy, an unwilling and reluctant participant. His main concern now is for forging a future for the people under his command, a mercenary company for sale to the highest bidder in a rapidly disintegrating colonial galaxy.
As pirates swamp the Eastern Segment, preying on the weak, a pattern begins to emerge. All is not as it seems. Whilst his ships engage on a contract which plunges the mercenary company into a conspiracy far deeper than could be imagined, Ulrik Andryukhin leads the marines on a ground campaign which exposes the darker side of humanity – intolerance for anything that is different. The old enmity between the augmented and the unaugmented is running strong, and genocide is the preferred solution.
Balancing the difficulties of a star-spanning conspiracy and the outrage of a friend grieving for a lost lover, Gavain also discovers his newfound ally and supporter Lady Sophia is playing a dangerous game. Married into House Zupanic, famed for their murderous and fatal political machinations, she is looking for power within the young Levitican Union, and vengeance for the assassination of a member of her own House.