It is the early 21st century. America has withdrawn from the space race, leaving the Soviet Union in uncontested control of the heavens. This monopoly has given Russia an economic stranglehold on Earth -for the natural resources of the Moon are vast. But there is one American who sees the Russian occupation of space for what it really is: Dan Randolph, expatriate, multimillionaire. Working through a loophole in the International Space Treaty, Randolph's private space force captures an asteroid and fires in into Earth's orbit, intending to mine its deposits of iron, nickel, and platinum. The Soviets see this for the threat it is, and confiscate Randolph's ships, imprison his crews, and declare the asteroid their own.
Blocked in the UN, abondoned by his own nation, Dan Randolph sets out to make his case in the court of public opinion. Taking a cue from the brave men who opened up the sea-ways when Europeans first squabbled over North America some five centuries earlier, Dan Randolph becomes a privateer -chartered now to prey not upon the high seas, but in the cold vastness of space.