It's the year 2465, 200 years since the stars were opened to humanity by the invention of the shift drive. So began the First Interstellar Expansion Era, catapulting humanity into a deadly race for the limited resources of navigable space.
Now tensions between the human nations are threatening to boil over into open hostility. Into this maelstrom steps the exiled Commander James Somerville of the Royal Space Navy. Banished from London to the survey ship HMS Drake he is about to make a discovery that may change his fortunes and throw Britain into a deadly war with its closest rival.