In the 23rd Century, war is still hell . . . Navy Corpsman Elliot Carlyle joined up to save lives and see the universe. Now he and Bravo Company's Black Wizards of the interstellar Fleet Marine Force are en route to Bloodworld?a hellish, volatile rock colonized by the fanatical Salvationists who desired an inhospitable world where they could suffer for humanity's sins. Their penance could prove fatal?for the Qesh, a strange alien race detected but still mysterious for six decades, have made violent first contact.Suddenly countless lives depend upon Bravo Company?perhaps even the fate of homeworld Earth itself?as the Marines prepare to confront a vast force of powerful, inscrutable enemies. And one dedicated medic, singled out by an extraordinary act of valor, will find himself with an astounding opportunity to alter the universe forever . . .