Kat Severn is a daughter of privilege, born to money and power. Half her relatives are military legends, the other form the political and economic power running Nu new England, the principle city of the post-war, early 22nd century Federation of America, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. She has been raised only to be beautiful and marry well, but looking for a chance to prove herself through merit, rather than connections, Kat decides to join the Fleet, against the wishes of her powerful parents. If ensuring she doesn't disappoint her family's high expectations wasn't enough, Kat is soon leading a mission to rescue a kidnapped child. Then she and her high-tech computer Safi are sent into Alaska where a volcanic eruption has caused famine and a complete breakdown of society. After varying degrees of success, Kat leads a rebellion against her commander to prevent a cohort of military hawks from turning a peaceful ceremony into a bloodbath, with repercussions that can only herald another war. For Kat, failure is not an option.