Earth is a dead cinder beyond the dense clouds. On
a terraformed Venus the land is ruled by savage plants and the even
more savage beasts that prey on them, while monsters out of nightmare
swim though the globe-girdling seas. Mankind huddles in domed
underwater Keeps, living a purposeless static existence—dedicated to
pleasure but destined for oblivion later if not sooner.
Only the Free Companions, the mercenaries who fight proxy wars for
the Keeps, live on the surface of Venus. Their warships course the
seas, battling one another in struggles to decide victory or defeat for
one day, life or death for a few individuals. The Free companions live
till they die with the searing thrill of danger, and their deeds bring
excitement and color to the bored residents of the Keeps; but Mankind
is doomed unless something changes.
Few are willing to risk their lives for that change, battling both
the terrifying environment and the ruthless oligarchs for whom the
status quo means a lifetime of luxury. But there are a handful of
courageous visionaries in the Keeps and in the Free Companies where
death is a way of life!