Millions of years from now, humanity will be on the brink of self-destruction. The world's great leaders have created an elite group who, by their superior wisdom and abilities, keep the peace, maintain progress, and otherwise safeguard humanity's future. Genetically enhanced, they are the carriers of Earth's greatest talents, a force unlike any in the history of mankind.
For ten million years, the Families dominated the galaxy. But then Alice, a brilliant scientist of the Chamberlain family, took part in an attempt to create a new galaxy. Her experiment unleashed vast forces that the family could not control, causing a catastrophe that killed untold billions of people on many worlds.
Before she was punished for her role in the debacle, Alice visited Ord, a younger Chamberlain. Only he, of all the people in the galaxy, knows what Alice tells him. Her words launch him upon a quest that will take him across the vast reaches of space. He must discover his own true nature, and somehow restore the family honor.