“Gareth Elhalyn is seeking adventure. Avoiding his bodyguards, he sometimes slips away, pretending he is “Race Cargill, Agent of the Terran Federation.” When he overhears rumours of strange doings in the desert, he sees an opportunity, and sets out for the Dry Towns disguised as a merchant’s apprentice.
But his adventure turns to deadly peril when smugglers exchange Terran blasters for water and food, and incite blood feud with the Dry-Towners. Then the arrival of a warship endangers Thendara itself. Only the intervention of a long-lost Hastur can save the city.
Can Gareth save the day without violating the Compact or his honor?