Major Jimjoy Earle Wright, secret agent of the Empire, is intelligent and highly trained. But he succeeds all too well in overthrowing a military dictatorship--and the result is a new government inimical to the Empire and disgrace for Jimjoy. After surviving two assassination attempts, Jimjoy realizes that it's his own imperial superiors who want him dead; that, in fact, his worst enemies could become his best friends. He fights his way to safety on the planet Accord, where the Ecolitan Institute wins his loyalty and changes his identity. Now he is James Joyson Whaler, Ecolitan, in the middle of a war of independence against the inconceivably superior forces of the Empire.