Bleys Ahrens is now a political power on the planet Association, home of the Friendlies. His people--his Others, not Dorsai or Friendly or Exotic, but hybrids--are in place on all the new worlds, and are ready to take his message to the greater human public. But within his inner circle is Henry McLean, Soldier of God, and a True Faith-Holder. Henry fears for the soul of his nephew Bleys, and while he guards, he also watches, and judges. And beyond Bleys Ahrens' control is Hal Mayne: the one man in all the human worlds who might successfully challenge Bleys in his bid for power. For Hal Mayne is the true culmination of the Cycle's grand design. Bleys would give anything to convert Hal Mayne to his cause--or failing that, to destroy him.