This book is the final of a recent trilogy within the Wild Cards universe and the 20th overall. It continues to track a group of characters we were introduced to in Inside Straight and their journey from hero wannabes to actual heroes. At this point, I'd grown attached to several of the characters and this chapter was not always kind to them. There is that sense of heroism and redemption, though.
I'm not going to natter on about plot. This book hinges on the previous two and a new reader would be well-served to start with Inside Straight. Some of these characters hearken back to the original set of Wild Cards novels, many of which I read but haven't owned in a long, long time. In any event, there are a bunch of new writers who have signed on for more books and look forward to seeing what happens.