It is the second stage of human colonization - the first age, humanity's initial attempt to people the stars, ended in disaster when it was discovered that Earth's original superluminal drive did permanent genetic damage to all who used it - mutating Earth's far-flung colonists in mind and body. Now, one of Earth's first colonies has given humanity back the stars, but at a high price - a monopoly over all human commerce. And when a satellite in earth's outer orbit is viciously attacked by corporate raiders, an unusual young woman flees to a ship bound for the Up-and-Out.
But her narrow escape does not mean safety. For speeding across the galaxy pursued by ruthless, but unknown adversaries, this young woman will discover a secret which is buried deep inside her psyche - a revelation the universe may not be ready to face....
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