Rigel, the erstwhile queen of Sri’Quis, one of the last planets left with a monarchy, is beginning her exile. Her son is now king and she is better off out of the way. She’s headed to the Earth-controlled planet Lough Dergh, in the company of an Earth-born bodyguard, Mary Osprey. Between Rigel’s anger at being forced into exile, and her hatred of the Earthlings who saved her once from assassination, the story opens in a mess of angst. But as Rigel’s exile draws out, and we learn more about Mary (explicitly asexual, a pro-active special agent, “There is nobody else like me.”), everything begins to change. I really liked Dr. Mary Osprey.