From hunger. Inhospitable planet Metzada (Masada) is home to the Metzadan Mercenary Corps, Jewish mercenaries (with an admixture of bushido Japanese) selling their expert services to anyone that needs them. Some years ago, wise old general Shimon Bar-El was cashiered for (supposedly) accepting a payoff', now living in exile, he sends word to Metzada of an operation both profitable and suitable (there may be a chance to beat up on some Freiheimers--Germans? Teutons? Nazis?--whom Shimon hates with a passionate intensity). The Metzadan leaders decide to investigate, but send Tetsuo Imaoka along: he's Shimon's nephew, nominally Inspector-General but actually a ninja-trained assassin, with orders to kill Shimon once the operation is complete. So, with much ado but little actual fighting--some self-sacrificing oldsters make it all possible--Shimon emerges victorious, if unforgiven. Tetsuo decides not to assassinate him, because Shimon cares more deeply about his people/religion than the rest of humanity, as does Tetsuo. An invisible backdrop, a plot that involves minimal action and lots of twiddling, and a rationale that serves to perpetuate ethnic and religious stereotypes. In any event, this galactic-mercenary yarn has neither the thoughtful persuasion of Gordon R. Dickson's Dorsal tales nor the violent drawing power of Jerry Pournelle's Janissaries, David Drake's Hammer's Slammers, etc.