Rubion Federation ship HMS Belsus visits a 300-year-old colony planet, and discovers a society near revolution against the rule of a "transfigured being" known as Toth. Commander Michael Queal's crew and ship are immediately threatened by Toth and his followers, including a host of strange bioengineered creatures unique to the planet. Only a banished people on a remote island are willing to aid Queal in his fight to bring freedom to the colony, and allow him to survive the wrath of a monstrous, unbalanced dictator. But help sometimes comes from unexpected directions!
In war, the men who served under him called him Culebra, the Viper. Soldier, strategist, and military assassin Eduardo Cabral harbors two souls - one dark and deadly, the other loving and creative. After a war ending in betrayal by those in power on a colony world and a man he has spent a lifetime trying to please, Eduardo flees to a peaceful, artistic life on another planet. But the corrupt war and its aftermath will not go away.