Still driven by his search for Man’s fabled birthplace, Earl Dumrest accepts a commission to guard the Lady Derai, heiress to the proud House of Caldor, on the feudal world of Hive.

On Derai’s home planet, Dumarest had hoped to meet a living witness to Earth. But instead he finds himself in the lists of the deadly Contest on Folgone – with the Lady of Caldor as prize.

And on Folgone, for the first time, Dumarest confronts the Cybers: ruthless, emotionless tools of a great Gestalt which holds the mighty of the universe in its grip – a power which may yet provide him with the key to his quest for Earth.