by Elizabeth Moon
Kylara Vatta is the only daughter in a family full of sons, and her fatherâ€™s only child to buck tradition by choosing a military career instead of joining the family business. For Ky, itâ€™s no contest: Even running the prestigious Vatta Transport Ltd. shipping concern canâ€™t hold a candle to shipping out as an officer aboard an interstellar cruiser. Itâ€™s adventure, not commerce, that stirs her soul. And despite her familyâ€™s misgivings, there can be no doubt that a Vatta in the service will prove a valuable asset. But with a single error in judgment, it all comes crumbling down.
Expelled from the Academy in disgraceâ€“and returning home to her humiliated family, a storm of high-profile media coverage, and the gaping void of her own futureâ€“Ky is ready to face the inevitable onslaught of anger, disappointment, even pity. But soon after opportunityâ€™s door slams shut, Ky finds herself with a ticket to rideâ€“ and a shot at redemptionâ€“as captain of a Vatta Transport ship.
Itâ€™s a simple assignment: escorting one of the Vatta fleetâ€™s oldest ships on its final voyage . . . to the scrapyard. But keeping it simple has never been Kyâ€™s style. And even though her father has provided a crew of seasoned veterans to baby-sit the fledgling captain on her maiden milk run, they canâ€™t stop Ky from turning the routine mission into a risky ventureâ€“in the name of turning a profit for Vatta Transport, of course.
By snapping up a lucrative delivery contract defaulted on by a rival company, and using part of the proceeds to upgrade her condemned vehicle, Ky aims to prove sheâ€™s got more going for her than just her familyâ€™s famous name. But business will soon have to take a backseat to bravery, when Kyâ€™s change of plans sails her and the crew straight into the middle of a colonial war. For all her commercial savvy, itâ€™s her military training and born-soldierâ€™s instincts that Ky will need to call on in the face of deadly combat, dangerous mercenaries, and violent mutiny. . . .
From the Hardcover edition.