After helping a group of families evade capture Elena finds herself stranded skyside during the off season. Despite the presence of Will Thompson, whose ship hitched a ride at the last second, she is feeling pretty good about the situation. Most of the political movers and shakers of the Guild safely returned to Earth at the end of the season taking their mixed political plots with them.
Even though there is a lot to do, she feels free of some of the weight that has been placed on her shoulders. But it isn't all a pleasant vacation. The Matrovean raiders are still expanding their territory at a terrifying rate, threatening the Guild's stability and as the crew on the planet expands their investigation of the planet, new facts about the former inhabitants come to light. Elena also realizes that the Librarians have political plots all their own and are very interested in helping her to take a seat on the Council. Can Elena survive the increasing hostilities with the Matrovean and live to take a place on the Ruling Council of the Guild of Families?