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Long before the destruction of the antediluvian world, a band of humans fled Earth to live among the stars. They are the Nanyanin, and now, thousands of years after the ancient deluge, their descendants are spread throughout the galaxy. Yet Earth remains solely the domain of the Thalanin, the children of those saved from death in the flooding of the world. Though ignorant of their stellar kindred, they are watched over by the Itarlavon, a Nanyan family tasked with guarding the Earth and its inhabitants.
But not all Thalanin live on Earth. Jake Connolly has lived his entire life on the planet Rithonon. Or so he thought. His quiet life in the Thalanin village of Brown Hill is shattered one day by the appearance of the Kenornin, ancient foes of the Itarlavon. They have come to Rithonon seeking Jake's life in payment for the deeds of his ancestors. When Silor , great-granddaughter of the Itarlavon patriarch, tries to rescue Jake, her ship crashes in the mountains beyond the village, and now Jake and Silor must rely on the Thalanin villagers if they are ever to evade the Kenornin and escape Rithonon.
Meanwhile, the same Kenornin who seek Jake's life are moving to seize power once more and obtain their ultimate prize-the Earth. Ilav , the new leader of the foremost family of the Kenornin, has obtained ancient records of the seed of the Atsari-the Tree of Life-which will restore her ailing father and, at his command, plunge the galaxy into war.