In defiance of NASA, Jane Holloway, the linguist of the Providence expedition, commandeers the alien ship that crew explored. She sets off to return that ship's marooned navigator to his home world, determined to discover who was behind the genocide that destroyed his original crew.
But when she gets there, she finds his world devastated by the same plague. The remaining members of his race, uniquely gifted at navigating the stars, are stranded across the galaxy. And someone, it seems, doesn't want those lost navigators to be found.
As Jane unravels the mystery of the plague and works to ensure the survival of Ei'Brai's race, she discovers that the life of every sentient being in the galaxy may be in jeopardy, and the clock is ticking.