The Star Kingdom's ally Erewhon is growing increasingly restive in the alliance because the new High Ridge regime ignores its needs. Added to the longstanding problem of a slave labor planet controlled by hostile Mesans in Erewhon's stellar backyard, which High Ridge refuses to deal with, the recent assassination of the Solarian League's most prominent voice of public conscience indicates the growing danger of political instability in the Solarian League—which is also close to Erewhon.
In desperation, Queen Elizabeth tries to defuse the situation by sending a private mission to Erewhon led by Captain Zilwicki, accompanied by one of her nieces. When they arrive on Erewhon, however, Manticore's envoys find themselves in a mess. Not only do they encounter one of the Republic of Haven's most capable agents—Victor Cachat—but they also discover that the Solarian League's military delegation seems up to its neck in skullduggery.
And, just to put the icing on the cake, the radical freed slave organization, the Audubon Ballroom, is also on the scene—led by its notorious and ruthless assassin, Jeremy X.
To Andre Norton-
Andre, you proved long ago that being a giant has nothing to do with physical stature. You’ve been taking giant steps and teaching the art of story-telling for over half a century, and we are among those – those many – who have been priviledged to be your students. It’s time we told the teacher thank you.