Numbered 9 in David Drake's bestselling "Republic of Cinnabar Navy" space adventure series! Captain Daniel Leary with his friend - and spy - Officer Adele Mundy are sent to a quiet sector to carry out an easy task: helping the local admiral put down a coup before it takes place. But then the jealous admiral gets rid of them by sending them off on a wild goose chase to a sector where commerce is king and business is carried out by extortion and gunfights. With anarchy and rebellion in the air, a rogue intelligence officer plots the war that will destroy civilization and enlists the help of a brute whom even torturers couldn't stomach. And, of course, it's up to Leary and Mundy to put a stop to the madness!