David Drake's legendary "Raj Whitehall" series, stunningly reborn. Humanity settled the stars, only to fall into a catastrophic collapse. On one planet, a single artificial intelligence, a computer program known as Center, found a military genius of grit and daring in Raj Whitehall, and the Galactic Republic rose again. But many dark planets remain - planets such as Duisenberg. Here, a single river cuts through a vast continental desert and a culture not unlike that of New Kingdom Egypt has developed. But, when a capsule containing the forbidden metal, plastic, and circuit boards that Zentrum hates falls from the sky - circuits with secretly stowed away, uploaded versions of Raj and Center - everything changes. What Raj and Center need now is a hero to break the Land's stasis and lead Duisberg back from the galactic dark ages. Enter Abel Dashian. The son of a local military commander, he is a brilliant and courageous young man who has lost his mother to a simple bacterial infection. He is a young man who will dare anything to avenge his mother's death and bring about change. He is the "Heretic".