The Forbidden Borders, an unassailable gravity-powered barrier, confine rival human empires to a few star systems, leaving them to strive endlessly against one another for domination. Now the balance of power has shifted so drastically that the long-dreaded final war between Rega and Sassa, the last surviving empires, is about to begin. Staffa kar Therma, Lord Commander of the Companions, the finest of mercenary soldiers, knows this war could reduce all human civilization to ashes, and he is desperately striving to avert the spiral into total destruction.
Then, seeking to blackmail Staffa into fighting for them, the Regans kidnap Skyla Lyma, Staffa’s second-in-command and the woman he loves. And suddenly Staffa is forced to choose between Skyla’s life and the possible end of his universe. Yet perhaps the choice will not be left to him at all. For Sinklar, the son stolen from the Lord Commander as an infant, now a general who has become Staffa’s sworn enemy, is already mobilizing his own forces for a pre-emptive strike….
But others, too, are weaving strategies of intrigue and betrayal as they reach out to seize control of the known worlds. And only time will tell if anyone will survive to claim the title of victor….
ON IMPERIAL SASSA— An empire drained of precious resources by decades of interstellar war prepares for a final strike against its last surviving enemy – a winner-take-all campaign of conquest….
ON REGA— The capital hovers on the brink of civil war as, with Emperor Tybalt assassinated, Sinklar Fist is forced to take control of preparations for a pre-emptive strike against the Sassan Empire….
AND IN THE ITREATIC ASTEROIDS— Staffa kar Therma, Lord Commander of the elite mercenary troops, the Companions, struggles to find a way to force the two warring empires to make peace – before all of human civilization within the Forbidden Borders finds itself driven one step too far along the road to destruction….
W. Michael Gear is the author or co-author with his beloved wife, Kathleen O’Neal Gear, of fifty-seven published novels. He is a New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author whose work has been translated into 29 languages and has over 17… More about W. Michael Gear
“What a ride! Excitement, adventure, and intrigue, all told in W. Michael Gear’s vivid, compulsively readable prose. A terrific new science-fiction series; Gear hits a home run right out of the park and all the way to Capella.” —Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of Quantum Night
“A marginal colony on a living world—where human life and human will are tested to the limits. An intriguing and inventive new work from Michael Gear, first of a trilogy. Recommended!” –C. J. Cherryh, Hugo Award-winning author of Downbelow Station
“Mike Gear does for science fiction what J.R.R. Tolkien did for fantasy, and he does it with panache and elan.” —Rave Reviews
“Flowing imagination, storytelling marvels. The Gears have a fine time drawing the various interclan rivalries and clashes of cultures.” —Kirkus
“Galactic intrigue combines with military SF in a tightly woven, intricate storywith strong male and female characters…. Highly recommended.” —Library Journal
“Gear has managed to develop a vivid world, and in it set in motion a sweeping conflict.” —Locus
“Gear handles characters and plot twists with equal ease…. The different alien species are distinctively drawn and interesting.” —Science Fiction Chronicle