It’s fifteen years since Margeurida returned to Darkover, discovered the terrifying powers of her special laran, and fell in love with Mikhail, heir to the regency. She has, over time, learnt to control her telepathic gift and can even work with her unique shadow matrix. Her life is more settled, but the current tensions on Darkover are due to the Terran Federation. Corrupt and ambition Station Chief Lyle has been pressuring Comyn Council for ten years to relinquish Darkover’s Protected status and join the Federation as a full member planet. This would mean the death of the culture and the rape of the planet’s resources. Then a military coup rocks the Federation, cutting off all local communication, and Lyle sees his chance.