The Eternal Emperor had returned at last from the dead to pick up the pieces of his crumbling Empire. But even that great leader could not halt the Empire’s decline alone. And so Sten—master spy, military strategist, and assassin—found himself appointed Ambassador Plenipotentiary to the Altaic Cluster, where a brewing civil war threatened the stability of the Empire itself. Quelling a civil war is nothing new for Sten, but as the war intensifies, he begins to suspect that he is up against more than a mere local disturbance. Someone operating in deep-cover and seemingly backed by the highest authorities is working behind the scenes to manipulate events and escalate disaster. And that someone wants nothing more than to see Sten dead.
Sten’s luck seems to have deserted him. Having been assigned a tacdivision in the Fringe Worlds, he soon discovers that the Imperial Officers are more interested in having fun than honing their fighting skills. The enemy Tahn couldn’t have picked a better time or place to launch their long-planned attack against the Empire. Sten and his men are outgunned and outmanned—but Sten isn’t going to give up without a fight.
The Eternal Emperor was dead, and the five members of the Privy Council ruled in his place. But they quickly discovered that their power would collapse around them if they didn’t locate the Emperor’s secret source of Anti-Matter Two, the economic keystone of the Empire. And so they sent a team of crack commandos to capture Sten, one of their late ruler’s few surviving confidantes. But Sten, as usual, had his own agenda. For he knew something about the Eternal Emperor that would shake the Empire to its foundations. And to play his part, all Sten had to do was kill the five most powerful beings in the universe.
Sten had fully expected to die in a blaze of glory, taking his Emperor's greatest foe with him. Instead he was a slave laborer in a POW camp deep in the heart of enemy territory. But sitting out the action had never been Sten's style. And now that the war was building to a climax, the Eternal Emperor needed him more than ever. Not even the toughest prison in the known universe could keep Sten from his mission.
This is the first book in the action-packed science fiction series, Sten. Vulcan is a factory planet, centuries old, company-run, ugly as sin, and unfeeling as death. Vulcan breeds just two types of native—complacent or tough. Sten is tough. When his family is killed in a mysterious accident, Sten rebels, harassing the Company from the metal world’s endless mazelike warrens. He could end up just another burnt-out Delinquent, but people like Sten never give up.
Sten had fought his way up from slave labor on a factory world to commander of the Eternal Emperor’s bodyguard, the Imperial Gurkhas. But during his first three months on Prime World, the most dangerous weapons Sten had encountered were the well-phrased lies of Court politicians. It seemed no place for an honest fighting man. But when a bomb destroys a local bar, Sten discovers the danger and corruption behind Court intrigue. Only quick work by Sten, Alex Kilgour, and a tough female detective can keep the Empire together and the Emperor alive.
Raised on the factory planet of Vulcan, Sten soon learns about the survival of the toughest. The Eternal Emperor rules countless worlds across the galaxy. Vast armies and huge fleets await his command. But when the Emperor needs to pacify the Wolf Worlds, the planets of an insignificant cluster that have raised space piracy to a low art, he turns to Mantis Team and its small band of militant problem-solvers. Sten’s destiny is in his own hands.
The Empire is in chaos. The once-great Imperial Navy has been shattered in battle and lies burning in space, riven by a civil war that threatens to engulf humanity’s future. For the revered Eternal Emperor is not the man his subjects thought him to be—and may not even be human at all. And it is Sten—Imperial bodyguard, spy, assassin, renegade—who now leads humanity’s fight for survival. Taking command of the last rebel fleet, he sets out on a desperate quest to seek and destroy the dark source of his former master’s power. Denounced as a traitor, hunted by forces loyal to the Emperor, Sten must risk everything to annihilate the Empire he vowed to protect.