Gloria Michelle Samantha Evelyn Henke has always wished her life could have been simpler. After all, she s a lot of people, with a lot of responsibilities rear admiral, Countess of Gold Peak, cousin of the Queen, fifth in line for the throne, and best friend of Hor Harrington and she doesn t even like politics. At least, though, it hasn t been as bad for her as for her friend Hor. That s something. But things can always change. Which is how someone who s perfectly happy commanding a simple squadron of battle cruisers finds herself first a prisoner of war, second a high-level interstellar political envoy, third a brand-new vice admiral, and fourth squarely in the path of the storm. It s a new universe for Mike Henke there are deadly threats to her Star Kingdom and everything she loves stirring in the shadows of an interstellar conspiracy vaster than anyone in the Star Kingdom of Manticore has ever even imagined. And all of them are headed straight for her, with consequences which hinge entirely upon her decisions. For the first time, she, too, finds herself in fleet command, in a situation fit to terrify anyone, even someone who s been the Salamander s best friend since the Academy. Still, Mike has a tendency to grow into challenges, and the enemies of Manticore who always thought that Hor Harrington by herself was bad eugh are about to discover that they haven t seen bad yet. But it s coming.