Lord Commander Grayson St. Clair has guided the Tellus Ad Astra to a part of the universe no human—and possibly no race known to Man—has ever seen. Far from the worlds they know, the colony ship is on its own, facing . . . something that seems to have no weakness. Something whose sole purpose seems to be devouring civilizations.
With both time and space as enemies, St. Clair must figure out a way to explore this new corner of space, maintain military order on a mission that was supposed to be civilian, and—somehow—bring the Tellus Ad Astra back to the Milky Way.
Combining the drama and action you’ve come to expect from military science fiction master Ian Douglas, this follow up to Altered Starscape is bound to capture your imagination.
"No, m'lord," Shoka said.
"Not to us, either. Not to many of us. We were ready to make that objection—when lord Gitu overran Yijang and Hua.... Assassinations, elsewhere. Hired killers. Bands of mercenaries traveling under imperial orders. The Emperor'sseal, and the Regent's orders. How do we stop such a thing How do we prevent it—when every lord able to lead is apprehended, assassinated, when they strip us of men, even boys out of the fields—go to Saukendar, some said. Go to Saukendar. They urged me to send to you. This time he has to listen, they said. But if I had sent—and Ghita had known—you understand—" Reidi gave an uncomfortable twitch of the shoulders. His horse shifted again. "I had no true hope that you'd come. You'd indicated to the villagers—that you had no wish to hear from anyone. That you would refuse any such petitions—"
"You were watching me."
"It's my village, m'lord—as the Regent pointed out to me again and again, and threatened my life should you leave that mountain. Of course the word came to me. I tried to get a messenger down the road to you when I knew you'd left Mon.... We believed you'd come back to deal with Ghita and his partisans."
Shoka felt cold, cold all the way to the bones.
"There are men ready to follow you, lord Saukendar. There are men who've committed their lives to this— We didn't know the hour. We only believed. Now you've come back ..."
"It's gripping drama, tightly focussed and inexorable as Taizu herself. Read The Paladin and you'll never settle for another ordinary sword-wielding female."
—Faren Miller LOCUS
At the publisher's request, this title is sold without DRM (Digital Rights Management)