What do you do if you're guilty of a crime, but not the one for which you've been convicted?
Aric kan Ingan is a Non-Person, an Exile, stripped of title and citizenship for treason against the Arcanian Empire, a crime of which he is innocent. Caught in the intrigues of a secret society determined to overthrow his uncle's rule, Aric is accused and arrested, then compelled to watch the evidence saving him destroyed when the rebels threaten to reveal his affair with his uncle's Terran wife. Under a sentence of Civil Death, he wanders a lonely decade while his uncle withholds clemency, until at last, destitute and addicted to the two most powerful substances in the Galaxy, he enlists as a guard for a Terran mining colony. There, he meets Susan Moran, TerraFormation's company doctor, a beautiful woman with secrets of her own, and Miles Sheffield, his former mistress's younger brother, a brash young Terran eventually becoming Aric's best friend. Now and in years to come, these two will be a special part of Aric's life, forging a destiny affecting the future of an entire planet.