Not even two hundred years after its founding the earthly colony on Tranthal is only a shadow of its former self. Instead of bringing democracy and prosperity to the peoples of the planet, it sinks into agony and political intrigue. Governor Seth Adam is spreading false hopes, even though the contact with the Earth has been broken for forty years. As before, raw materials are produced and hoarded at the spaceport that the population lacks. More and more people are wondering why nothing is done against the perceptible decline. Taking advantage of a moment of weakness, Dar’y’s neighboring tribes are venturing a massive assault on the colonial territory as the recruit of the new military year celebrates its completion in Hallwa, its capital.
Two years after the war against the Dar’y, Brit and Len live a life between adaptation and self-realization. The colony was able to stabilize once more. But drug trafficking, energy theft, and radical clerics of the Aristo cult of the Dar’y cause ever new problems in their capital and provinces, which Brit Darburg, who is now working for the Propaganda Unit of the Ministry of Interior, and the young militia officer Len Kakaia are trying to get under control.
Steel Dunes, an international large-scale prison on the south coast, serves as a joint project for the colony and the Dar’y and Isaris peoples to stop the burgeoning crime. However, Vas Kandiris, commander of the powerful government guards, is increasingly abusing it to arrest political opponents of the governor there after the terrible failure of the newly launched space program. Kat-Ya Kon Wardi, daughter of the late High Priest of the Aristo cult of the Dar’y, is also forced to act against increasingly radical forces within the clans. Sard Mamarter and Dars Poole, a former friend of Brit Darburg and Len Kakaia, are among the prominent inmates who are gradually taking control of the “steel dunes”.