In the year 2420, war looms between the galaxy's two most powerful empires: the tyrannical Theocracy and the protectionist Commonwealth. Caught in the middle sits the occupied outpost system Cadiz, where young officer and aristocrat Katherine "Kat" Falcone finds herself prematurely promoted at the behest of her powerful father. Against her own wishes, Kat is sent to command the Commonwealth navy's newest warship, Lightning. Determined to prove she has value beyond her family name, Kat struggles to earn her crew's respect and find her footing as the youngest captain in naval history. She soon discovers the situation on Cadiz is even worse than anyone in power anticipated. War isn't just a possibility--it is imminent. Yet the admiral in position to bolster defenses refuses to prepare for a fight. Can Kat find a way to investigate the enemy, alert the Commonwealth, and whip an entire fleet into fighting shape before the Theocracy's war machine destroys everything she holds dear?
For years, the tribes of the desert have lived in an uneasy truce. Each tribe dedicated to an elemental spirit, each tribe, and each spirit, nervously eyeing the others. On the surface, all seems to be as usual. But underneath, evil has taken root. In the capital city, whispers abound, whispers of treason and of war. The spirits have foretold it-a storm is coming that will bathe the deserts in the blood of the innocent. Hamalah, devotee of the water spirit, is caught up in the whirlwind the day she discovers a boy of the fire spirit's tribe injured in the desert. Together, the pair must seek out the evil that would destroy both their peoples. But first, they must find a way to put aside the wounds of the past and heal the deep scars that lie between them. If they can't, then they, and everyone they know, will fall before the oncoming storm.