Tor, March 2003, 25.9, 480 pp.
On the planet Delos, The Eubians exchange prisoner Prince Eldrin of the Skolian Empire for Jai Rockworth the heir to the Eubian Concord. Although nobody knows it, Jai, who will be the next Emperor, is related to all the high powered rulers in the Skolian Empire. The Skolians and the Eubians after centuries of war are holding to an informal and uneasy truce, one that could explode into war with the least provocation.
The Eubian economy is based on the slave trade and is condemned by the Skolians who know their enemies feed on the pain of their psychic slaves known as Providers. Jai's most fervent wish is to forge a permanent peace between the two empires but forces within his own government try their best to kill him before he can make any reforms. When he marries his Finance Minister Tarquine, he gets a wife who will use all her dirty tricks in her mighty arsenal to keep her husband safe.
Readers get a close look at how the Eubian Concord really works and it will sicken them as much as it does the hero of THE MOON'S SHADOW. The protagonist is young but he gathers some powerful allies who help him rule and try to see that he is protected from assassination from those who disagree with his goals. Catherine Asaro has written one of the best works of her star-studded career, one that will have readers searching the shelves for her backlist.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner