It has been sixty years since the wars. Most of the Earth is an uninhabitable wasteland. The remaining human population is crammed into Australia, New Zealand, and the ruins of the Indonesian archipelago.
Life in the Commonwealth is finally settling. Entire cities are housed in towering sea-rises on the coasts, and all food is supplied from vast fleets of floating farms moored at sea. But tension is rising in the territories of the Fringes, where, for many, the war never ended.
On board the Cassiopeia, second mate Orion Trayfer enjoys his job battling the waves and weather to tend the crop barges in New Zealand's eastern waters. But his world is shattered by the news of a friend's supposed suicide. With the help of Samara, the new trainee, Orion embarks on his own investigation, unearthing secrets that someone will go to any lengths to keep buried. All the while, a far greater threat is looming, which could see the fragile peace between the Commonwealth and the Fringes come crashing down around them.