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Discussion Questions

1. In Coalition society, Christianity and expressions of faith are clearly frowned upon and in some cases illegal. How and why do you think this came about? Do you consider this a likely or unlikely vision of the future?

2. Dex’s rules of engagement for the Angels prohibit firing on manned vehicles, even at the risk of squadron lives. Do you agree with this policy? Why or why not?

3. Dex suspends this rule during the freighter mission when he sees that Jani’s life is in imminent danger. Is that hypocritical of him? Should guiding principles—like those behind the rules of engagement—be absolute, or are they governed by circumstances? Who should decide this?

4. When we meet Darik, he has clear goals and ambitions. He is frustrated, however, by roadblocks, both real and imagined, including misinformation, incompetent superiors, and his own humble upbringing. Have you ever faced similar frustrations? How have you navigated them? And do you think Darik gets what he wants in the end?

5. When Prop 413 first passes, Dex’s best friend, Bulldog, decides to leave Earth while Dex chooses to remain in the UCN. Later, Dex and the Angels must also decide whether to leave. What factors do you think influence Bulldog’s decision? What about Dex’s decisions (both to stay and, later, to go)? Do you think the Voor twins have different reasons for leaving?

6. Jani’s success at a pilot, at least through Scot’s eyes, is limited by her infatuation with Dex. Do you think Jani has feelings for Dex (and vice versa)? Do you think that a romantic relationship between Dex and Jani would have a negative impact on the squadron? And do you think Scot’s assessment of Jani is fair or biased?

7. Who do you think the traitor is? Do you agree with the way that Dex is handling this threat?

8. Dex is troubled by dreams and doubts about his faith. What do you think are some of the underlying causes of his doubts? Have you ever struggled with doubt? How have you dealt with it?

9. Kirrone Jenkins is a beloved public figure in the Coalition, yet his employees often see a different side of him. Is it necessary for a leader to show different faces in different situations, or is it more important to always be consistent? Can you think of any historical or current day public figures who might match either description?

10. Darik makes a decision at the end of the book that could destroy his career. Why do you think he took those actions? What do you think he will do next?