For more than fifty years, the Terran Republic and the Terran League have been killing one another. The death toll has climbed ever higher, year after year, with no end in sight. But the members of the Five Hundred, the social elite of the Republic’s Heart Worlds, don’t care.

Rear Admiral Terrence Murphy is a Heart Worlder. His family is part of the Five Hundred. His wife is the daughter of one of the Five Hundred’s wealthiest, most powerful industrialists. His sons and his daughter can easily avoid military service, and political power is his for the taking. There is no end to how high he can rise in the Republic’s power structure.

All he has to do is successfully complete a risk-free military “governorship” in the backwater Fringe System of New Dublin without rocking the boat. But the people sending him to New Dublin have miscalculated, because Terrence Murphy is a man who believes in honor. Who believes in duty—in common decency and responsibility. Who believes there are dark and dangerous secrets behind the façade of what “everyone knows.”

Terrence Murphy intends to meet those responsibilities, to unearth those secrets, and he doesn’t much care what the Five Hundred want. He intends to put a stop to the killing.

Terrence Murphy is coming for whoever has orchestrated fifty-six years of bloodshed and slaughter, and Hell itself is coming with him.