It all begins on a barren backwater world called Renat Chorios - once a dreaded prison colony, now home to the Therans, a fanatic religious cult. To this exiled world has come the ruthless warlord Seti Draconis, who seeks to exploit the vast crystalline deserts that cover the planet's desolate surface. The first step in his plan is to lure Princess Leia to Renat Chorios for a diplomatic meeting, only to hold her hostage in his isolated fortress. His ultimate goal is to destroy the Therans, take over the planet, and sell its valuable crystals to the remnants of the Empire, who will use the crystals to develop unstoppable deep-space missiles that will turn the tide of war against the New Republic. With Leia as his hostage, there is nothing to stop him. Meanwhile, Luke lands on Renat Chorios in search of his lost love, Callista, only to discover that any use of the Force has unexpectedly deadly consequences. To make matters worse, a plague is decimating the New Republic fleet as it faces attack from overwhelming imperial forces led by Moff Getelles and his henchman, Admiral Larm. As Han, Chewie, and Lando set out from Coruscant on a desperate rescue mission, as Leia seeks to escape the evil Draconis, and as Luke searches through a world torn by plague and riots to find Callista, the planet begins to reveal its unspeakable secret: a long dormant sentient life-form kept in check for centuries is now threatening to gain dominance over the New Republic, the Empire, and the entire galaxy!
Barbara Hambly is the author of Patriot Hearts and The Emancipator's Wife, a finalist for the Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction. She is also the author of Fever Season, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and the acclaimed historical Benjamin January series, including the novels A Free Man of Color and Sold Down the River. She lives in California.