The Earth has fallen and the worlds of the empire have to learn to cope without direction or the economic might of Earth. A stagnant political system, large corporations and a media that is designed not to inform the populace. This one can be read as a standalone. The story dovetails nicely with Culture Shock an earlier entry. One of Nuttall's strengths as a writer is how he showcases the differences of experience between the wealthy and the service workers and the unemployed. It can be hard coming from a lower income situation to understand just how clueless the uberwealthy can be about the real world where every dollar must be squeezed until it squeals. I've enjoyed this series and hope that as it continues we will get a closer look at what's happening at the core worlds.