Captain Alicia DeVries, Imperial Cadre, has been many things in her life. An Imperial Marine, dedicated to the protection and preservation of the Terran Empire she loves. An Imperial Cadre drop commando, personal liegewoman of Emperor Seamus II, whom she honors and reveres. Hero of the Terran Empire, one of only three living holders of the Banner of Terra. And now, outcast, rogue, pirate ... and madwoman.
From the time she graduated from high school, Alicia DeVries knew what she wanted to do with her life, and she did it well. On planets like Gyangtse, Chengchou, Fuller, and Louvain - in cities like Zhikotse and Shallingsport - she's put her life on the line in defense of her Empire and Emperor again and again. She's given her blood, and the lives of men and women closer to her than brothers and sisters.
But her dead have been betrayed in the name of political expediency. The justice they deserved has been denied, and a brokenhearted Alicia DeVries has resigned her commission and retired to the colony world of Mathison with her family to begin a new life.
Yet Alicia is still a warrior, and the pirates who attacked Mathison, tortured and murdered her family, and left her for dead, are about to discover just how big a mistake they made.
Imperial Intelligence can't find them. The Imperial Fleet can't catch them. Local defenses can't stop them. But Alicia has stolen an imperial A1 starship from the bleeding edge of technology and set out to teach them what vengeance truly is.
Her fellow veterans think she's gone mad, the Fleet has shoot-on-sight orders, and the "pirates" have allies at the highest levels of the Imperial government. But Alicia DeVries has two allies of her own. Allies no one knows about. Allies as implacable as she is: a self-aware computer, and a creature from the mists of Old Earth's most ancient legends.