Far from Earth, an outlaw and a cop are the first on the scene when an alien ship crashes on a human colony
Centuries after the ecological collapse of Earth, humanity has spread among the stars. Under the governance of the League, our endless need for resources has driven us to colonize hundreds of planets, all of them devoid of other sentient life. Humanity is apparently alone in the universe.
Then comes the sudden, brutal decimation of Kassa, a small farming planet, by a mysterious attacker. The few survivors send out a desperate plea for aid, which is answered by two unlikely rescuers. Prudence Falling is the young captain of a tramp freighter. She and her ragtag crew have been on the run and living job to job for years, eking out a living by making cargo runs that aren’t always entirely legal. Lt. Kyle Daspar is a police officer from the wealthy planet of Altair Prime, working undercover as a double agent against the League. He’s been undercover so long he can't be trusted by anyone — even himself.
While flying rescue missions to extract survivors from the surface of devastated Kassa, they discover what could be the most important artifact in the history of man: an alien spaceship, crashed and abandoned during the attack.
But something tells them there is more to the story. Together, they discover the cruel truth about the destruction of Kassa, and that an imminent alien invasion is the least of humanity’s concerns.
“A fast moving and cynical who-done-it, thriller, political novel, and space opera all rolled into one, with a touch of romance as well, where you can't help cheering for the protagonists, even as you wonder exactly how they'll manage to pull it out.” — L. E. Modesitt, Jr., author of the Recluce Saga
“Takes the tried-and-true motif of space traders... and embroils them in a web of conspiracy worthy of John LeCarré himself... I haven’t had my spine chilled by paranoia this strong since I first read Frank Herbert’s Dune. Planck is to be congratulated on a most impressive debut.” — Dave Duncan, author of The Seventh Sword
M. C. Planck is the author of Judgment at Verdant Court, Gold Throne in Shadow, and Sword of the Bright Lady. After a nearly-transient childhood, he hitchhiked across the country and ran out of money in Arizona. So he stayed there for thirty years, raising dogs, getting a degree in philosophy, and founding a scientific instrument company. Having read virtually everything by the old masters of SF&F, he decided he was ready to write. A decade later, with a little help from the Critters online critique group, he was actually ready. He was relieved to find that writing novels is easier than writing software, as a single punctuation error won’t cause your audience to explode and die. When he ran out of dogs, he moved to Australia to raise his daughter with kangaroos.