Nobody leaves Queen. On the tidally locked, women-only planet, a vulva and an authority problem are the only immigration requirements. Emigration is banned.
Ember spends her days cruising Queen’s endless sand dunes, hunting sand pirates and wallowing in memories of her dead wife. After an ambush, Ember is dragged to the pirate camp and learns her wife’s biggest secret—before her death, she’d joined the pirates, built an illegal spaceship, and plotted to leave the planet.
Ember’s sister, Nadia, hatches a desperate rescue that leads her to the very edge of the habitable zone. There, Nadia stumbles across other secrets kept—a flourishing, impossible ecosystem and a New Earth mining installation. Queen’s hidden resource, highly sought after and limited, should have made its inhabitants rich. Instead, Queen’s scientists live in decaying houses, battle the elements, and struggle to eke out a living.
Ember, Nadia, and the sand pirates must take back the planet and expose the corrupt New Earth mining. Taming giant beetles, wrestling stinkhorn fungi, and enlisting Queen’s rabbit population in a high-stakes aerial battle are just part of the hijinks that will determine Queen’s fate as a galactic player, as well as the futures of all its conscripted inhabitants.
The newly minted outlaws must also grapple with Queen’s narrow concept of “womanhood” and where trans and intersex people belong in its future.