Athena Hera Sinistra is the sociopathic daughter of one of the elite Good Men who rule the Earth. She needs all her hard-won mayhem skills when thugs try to kidnap her one night on her father's spaceship. She fights back with a nightdress and a boot heel, and escapes in a lifepod, but now her adventures are just beginning, as she is captured by a darkship pilot, one of the descendents of the hated and feared exiled bioengineered tyrants that previously ruled Earth.
This is rip-roaring high octane mayhem, with the odd pause for a bit of not-too-sloppy romance, and some slightly-heavy-handed politics (although the bureaucratic-nightmare libertarian society makes a fun change). It's good to see a (relatively!) sympathetically drawn snarky sociopathic protagonist -- although naturally she mellows somewhat by the end. But the plot twists, the different cultures, the not-so-surprising big reveal, the chase-piled-on-chase -- all keep the pages turning. Mind candy, but fun mind candy. And a wonderful last line.
Thena and Kit are placed under arrest for the crime of coming back alive. The only escape from a death sentence: return to Earth and bring back the secret of creating the Powertrees, the energy source of both Eden and Earth whose technological secrets have been lost to war. But that mission is secondary to a greater imperative. Above all else, Thena must not get caught. There is a price on her head on Earth. If she does get caught, then suicide is the only option.
With the odds heavily slacked against, not only success but survival, Thena comes to understand what her cynical accusers do not. It is not merely one woman’s life on the line anymore, for it’s on Earth where the adventure truly begins, and a secreti discovered that must be revealed and exploited, else humanity’s day are most certainly numbered. Thena realizes that what is truly at stake is the fate of both Eden and Earth, the continuance of thee Darkship fleet, and freedom for all in the Solar System—and beyond.