As a child, Lawrence Newton wanted nothing more than to fly starships and explore the galaxy, like his fictional heroes. But on the colony world of Amethi in the twenty-fourth century, Lawrence is living in the wrong era: the age of human starflight is drawing to a close. So, like many another teenage hothead, he rebels and runs away.
Twenty years later, he's the seargent of a washed-out platoon taking part in the bungled invasion of another world. The giant corporations who own the remaining starships euphamistically call such campaigns 'asset realization'. In practice it's simple piracy.
But while he's on the ground, being shot at and firebombed by disturbingly effective resistance forces, Lawrence hears stories about the Temple of the Fallen Dragon - the holy place of a sect devoted to the worship of a mythical creature that fell from the sky millennia before the arrival of humans. More importantly, its priests are said to guard a hoard of treasure large enough to buy lifelong happiness for any man, and that information alone is enough to prompt him to mount a small private-enterprise operation of his own.
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