Rulers of old nearly destroyed the planet. And the new "boss" may finish the job. Any day now, The Monitor will unleash his deadly secret upon a war-addled planet. What brutal dictator worth his salt would pass up the chance to annihilate an entire competing population? But he didn't count on interference from Anton Takk, the guilt-ridden escapee from a northern labor camp. Or from Rosenthal Webb, the aging Revolutionary burrowed in a mountain hideout.
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An enticing new world awaits - but getting there is half the battle. Destroying a ruthless dictator, it turns out, was easy by comparison. Merqua's revolutionaries find themselves landlocked, and the only hope for civilization lies beyond a wild and perilous ocean. Only one shipyard can produce a vessel that is up to the crossing. But how do you negotiate with - or trust - slavers, powder-snorting pirates, and cannibals?