Another installment in Asaro's space romance/family saga (Ascendant Sun, p. 27, etc.). On planet Balumil, so isolated that high technology has been all but forgotten, the young and beautiful governor of an impoverished province, Kamoj Quanta Argali, must wed her rich and powerful neighbor, the cruel and arrogant Jax Ironbridge, in order to stave off disaster. Astonishingly, the mysterious Vryl Lionstar makes a counter-offer Kamoj cannot refuse. Fabulously wealthy and seemingly well equipped with advanced technology, Vryl weds Kamoj in haste, can't remember her name, and falls over drunk—but otherwise proves surprisingly considerate. He's also plagued by ghastly nightmares (hence the drinking), and Kamoj finds that she's embarked on an adventure that will sweep her to the highest reaches of (you guessed it) the Skolian Empire. A sturdy and absorbing addition to the series.