Aboard the military-commercial starship Paraclete, plying the remote stars between Stratiskaya Daransk and the human rim worlds, a murder has been committed. It is not a crime of passion, nor a carefully plotted revenge killing, but the ritualistic and barbarous sacrifice of a young child.
The Whiston family, decadently wealthy and notoriously reclusive corporate owners of the New Holyoke colony want to know why. With only a few scant weeks remaining in the voyage, the investigation must be rapid, thorough, and above all else, discreet.
Ray Marlowe, deep cover security agent for the Criminal Investigations Unit, considers himself anything but discreet.