Far on the edge of settled space, the colony world Mallachrom is mostly wilderness. Years ago, during an invasion by the alien Talroqi, many adults were killed while most of the children vanished, spirited away to safety by the sentient canines known as Shadows.
Those children came back from the wilderness changed, bound to the planet in ways they can't, or won't, explain. Called the Taken, they live on the edges of civilization. The new government on Mallachrom fears them enough to want to exterminate the Shadows and claim the Taken are dangerous--under the corrupt influence of Shadows.
The hive-minded insectoid Talroqi have been at war with Humans for generations. Memories of Mallachrom, the colony world where Rover captain Rhianni Day, was born and the boy who was her best friend, are a burden of guilt on her soul. Far from the battle lines, Mallachrom should have been safe...yet after the Rovers left the colony world, the aliens invaded.
Rhianni is ordered to return to Mallachrom and investigate what really happened in the Talroqi invasion, especially the strange stories about the children who survived--carried away to safety by the sentient canines called Shadows. Rhianni has only good memories of the Shadows. Even more important: Petroc Ash, her childhood friend, is a Taken.
Petroc leads the Taken. His responsibilities to the Taken and their secrets are too great to risk, even for Rhianni. Their childhood bond has grown even stronger, despite her long absence. Loving her will bind her to Mallachrom forever--and could kill her.