2021’s Sounding Dark is the first volume in Jo Graham’s Calpurnian Wars series.
Interstellar great power Calpurnia eschews subtle hints when brute force will do as well. Thus, the initial indications that the matter of Eresh is once again occupying an autocrat’s mind come when two Eresh ships are ambushed and annihilated by a Calpurnian task force.
Arriving too late to intervene, the officers and crew of Steel Nine search for survivors. They find one. However, the survivor is neither from Eresh nor Calpurnia. Bister is Tainted, born and raised on the interdicted world of Inanna, around which the space facility Eresh orbits. They have no business being in space.
This is not Bister’s most unusual characteristic.