Aliette de Bodard’s 2023 A Fire Born of Exile is a stand-alone SF story of revenge and romance that takes place in her Xuya Universe setting.
Half a generation earlier, the Ten Thousand Flags Uprising was suppressed through a combination of miliary and judicial force. Naïve scholars like Dã Lan discovered that unwary words and misplaced trust could lead to the nearest airlock and sudden death. As tragic as the results were for the guilty and innocent alike, Prefect Tinh Đức flourished, building status on the skulls of those who passed through her court. Only General Tuyết rivals the prefect for power in the belt. Currently, the balance of power is tilting from military to civil.
Newcomer Quỳnh is a wealthy but seemingly unremarkable social climber, potentially useful but of no particular significance. Quỳnh is a reinvented Dã Lan, back to exact revenge on the two women — the general and the prefect — who cost the scholar so much.