After she is rescued from the Eubians by her sister-in-law Vaz Majda and admiral Jon Casestar aboard an ISC battle cruiser, Dehya struggles to reunite her family the Ruby Dynasty and consolidate her empire shattered by war. She is overjoyed when she can recover her husband Eldrin, who suffered horrific torture as Eubian prisoner and was lately released in exchange for Jaibriol III.
Her plan to go to Earth and free several Ruby Dynasty members who are held captive by the Allieds (including her sister Roca and her husband Eldrinson) however meets little enthusiasm among her top fleet officers, as it can be seen as an act of war. Faithful friends and allieds suddenly cannot be trusted and Dehya has to rely on the enigmatic and power-hungry admiral Bloodmark to gain command of the fleet. With his help Dehya owerthrows not only the fleet leaders but also the Skolian Assembly and declares herself the only ruler of the Skolian Imperialate. Her position is strengthened when the remaining ships of Radiance Fleet return from the Radiance War under command of rear admiral Barzun who proclaims his loyalty to the Pharaoh.
Dehya's plan succeeds and she is able to free several family members from Allied custody - to everyone's surprise also Kelric, the new Imperator who was long presumed dead. The book ends with her transforming the Skolian government, where Ruby Dynasty and Assembly will share political power.
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