New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Engagement Elizabeth Moon continues her grand epic as enemies from both without and within strike at the heart of the Familias Regnant.
After the suppression of the New Texas barbarians, Esmay Suiza and Barin Serrano hoped for a respite to develop their relationship. But there is time for neither rest nor pleasure as events around the galaxy push all the great powers towards war.
When Speaker Lord Thornbuckle is assassinated, his daughter Brun finds herself trapped in the machinations of politics and power—with the true villain behind her father’s death keeping an ever-watchful eye on her every move…
Meanwhile, the shadowy criminal empire of the Benignity, having already sabotaged the controversial “rejuvenation drugs” that fuel the Familias’ longevity, is now poised to spread its influence and corruption directly into Familias government.
On the planet Copper Mountain, the once-hunted Pilar Bacarion has quietly assumed command of a military prison. But she has far greater ambitions in play: she will carry out Lepescu's plan to gain control of the Fleet and crack the very foundations of the government.
But for Esmay and Barin, a long-forgotten betrayal is about to be revealed, a secret that in one moment entangled the fates of both the Suiza and Serrano clans—and made them mortal enemies.
“A thoroughly excellent adventure.”—Booklist
“Political intrigue, mutiny in space, and ideological battles of war and weapons lend variety to this fast-moving space opera set in the distant future.”—Library Journal