“Roistering adventure. Beautiful heroines. Color andimagery. A final world-smashing slug-fest. Good fun!” —Analog
"A most impressive example of understatement . . .keeps the major components of the story within thebounds of the human. Quite an accomplishment in viewof the cosmic nature of the plot!” —Galaxy Magazine
For two hundred years Earth’s power and prestige as the center of galactic government has been increasingly eclipsed by that of her growing colonies in far distant star clusters. Now the weakened mother world, celebrating the anniversary of the first space flight, has become a helpless pawn in a struggle between the scheming Orion cluster and the other clusters it hopes to conquer. Enter Jay Birrel, captain of a squadron of spaceships from the cluster Lyra. Jay and his brilliant wife Lyllin, whose exotic looks betray her birth on distant Vega, are visiting Earth for the celebration. Jay is of Terrestrial descent, and a visit to the ancient family homestead earns him friends and stirs a sense of belonging to the mother world he never knew he possessed. Then Orion strikes, and Jay finds himself called to duty, with only hours to prepare for an epic battle between his own cluster and the aggressor—with theindependence of Terra as the prize!