Sequel to Ganwold's Child (1995), Thornley's second military sf venture. Planet Issel, having overthrown its dreadful governor, is now besieged by its former allies, the alien slave-taking masuki, while Issel's new leaders are bitterly regretting their treacherous attack on the Unified Worlds. Young Tristan, having played a leading role in the struggle, now must come to terms with his traumatic past (among other things, he killed a masuki assailant, then was tortured and brainwashed, and his alien best friend was killed) by learning to trust his wise father, Admiral Serege. The latter, having been reunited with his wife, Darcie (she, with Tristan, was a castaway for many years), is also having adjustment problems. Eventually, however, the three will meld once more into a happy family. But first the Unified Worlds receive a request for help from the besieged Isselians. Somehow, the masuki must be stopped: So Tristan, with his inside knowledge, agrees to lead Spherzah commandos on a daring raid against the masuki on Issel itself. Lots of psychologizing and chat, with precious little action: a sub-par entry in what's shaping up to be a long dull series, of interest chiefly to teenaged armchair warriors.