Still, there was no denying that his headquarters world, Xana, set an entirely new record for the shortest interval between my arrival at a place I’d never been and the very first attempt on my life there.
We’re talking about minutes. Minutes.
Things have started to improve for Andrea Cort at last. She’s been given a promotion (arranged by the ancient software intelligences, the AIsource, whom Andrea is secretly working for) and has more freedom than she’s known since being drafted to the Diplomatic Corps. She also has a devoted new lover/bodyguard, the beautiful cylinked pair Oscin and Skye (former lovers who’d undergone a procedure to merge their personalities together to become one person in two bodies, and yes, they do have sex). Unfortunately she’s still the notorious survivor of an unexplained massacre, and she still has a price on her head. After landing at Xana she fights off a very clumsy, very amateur assassination attempt by attackers wielding an impossibly rare weapon, The Claw of God, which kills by dissolving the victim internally, and which was invented by an obscure sect of an alien race 15000 years ago.
Andrea’s still trying to figure that one out when she and her companion(s) board a luxurious space elevator, owned by her host Hans Bettelhine, the patriarch of the Bettelhine Munitions Corporation. Over the next several hours the space elevators failsafes, well, fail. The elevator carriage is stuck high above the planet’s surface, another visitor is murdered with a second Claw of God, and every member of the boarding party is a suspect. As the Dip Corps Prosecutor-at-Large, Andrea now has to wade through a tangled mess of family history and political intrigue while surrounded by members of a corporation that manufactures weapons capable of blowing up entire planets. And even though there have been at least two attempts on her life since accepting an invitation that still hasn’t been explained, there’s a very good chance that none of this has anything to do with her at all.