Scholarship student Thracius "Tracy" Belmanor and Princess Mercedes de Arango have graduated from the High Ground and become officers in the Orden de la Estrella. Stung by Mercedes' choice of Beauregard "Boho" Cullen as her consort, Tracy is glad that they are posted on battleships light years apart, but soon finds that without her protection he is nothing but a target. Meanwhile, Mercedes' posting has its own challenges, not least her unfaithful husband. Both young officers find themselves part of forced "assimilations" of settlers on Hidden Worlds, which lead them to doubt the intentions of the Solar League. And when Tracy witnesses a horrific event that threatens the fragile human and alien peace, Mercedes must decide where her loyalties truly lie . . .
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