A vast and hostile force is attacking prosperous trade centres, destroying their space fleets then moving on, leaving death and chaos in their wake. Admiral Ky Vatta's family was decimated by one such attack and Turek, the pirate force's leader, will not escape her vengeance. Ky has a loyal taskforce, but the enemy have three times the ships and the firepower to match. She must offset these advantages with her knowledge of military strategy and her ace: superior ansible technology, facilitating fast and accurate in-space intelligence. The alternative to victory is unthinkable - devastation of interplanetary trading networks on a galaxy-wide scale - and the end of a way of life.