By the workings of chance Bleys Ahrens was born the genetic equal of Hal Mayne, the hero of The Final Encyclopedia, but he was destined by nurture to a far different fate. Raised alone by his unhappy Exotic mother, Bleys was an outcast from every society until his half-brother Dahno claimed him. Disciplined by Friendlies, schooled by Exotics, Dahno was beginning to build an interplanetary network of half-breeds, who called themselves “Others”.

But Dahno thought only of gaining wealth and power for himself; Bleys saw an opportunity to challenge the Dorsai for control of the Human Worlds.