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"To pass the Test of Heirs, you must prove your worthiness and understanding of what it means to rule." For nearly one thousand years, the Core Empire has held together thousands of star systems and billions of citizens. But a coup attempt has broken the empire into pieces. Some planets and systems have survived and still have law and order. Others have fallen to barbarism and piracy. For young Hugh Cascade, this is but a history lesson, even if the nightmares of kinetic weapons exploding have followed him through most of his childhood. Ten years later, the war finds Hugh, now a military cadet. Under the gentle guidance of Marine Sgt. Major Ward, Hugh has grown into a strong—and headstrong—young man. But the truth has never been shared with him: Hugh Cascade is an heir to the throne, perhaps the last, and the traitors will do anything to eliminate him. Before they can, Hugh must make the decision of a lifetime: To take the Test of Heirs to prove his worthiness to rule an empire . . . or die trying. The first in an exciting new trilogy, Orphan's Test is classic science fiction at its best. Contains mature themes.