Having successfully routed the French on Venus, Arabella and Prakash Singh are feted on Earth by the gouty Prince of Wales. They soon find that the Prince and the Chairman of the Honorable Mars Company wish to use Captain Singh’s bravery and celebrity to back an invasion and takeover of Mars. They will supplant the Martians and enslave them, though they don’t use those terms.
There was never a more intelligent and loyal man than Singh. He is terribly torn between his feelings for the Martians and their way of life and fulfilling the wishes of his majesty the Prince.
Arabella, a native of Mars herself, will not have him consider for a moment taking on such a task.
Trapped in the Prince’s company by a snowstorm, Arabella and the Captain are approached by many who wish to overtake Mars for profit, and for the possibility that surely the Martians will rise up, because they can, though they have never shown any interest.
Arabella finds out that the Prince and The Head of the Honorable Mars Company plan to put Singh forth to win public and Parliamentary approval, but plan to undermine him and have him destroyed once things are in place. They admire his feats, but have no regard for a man of India. When Arabella tells him these things, he says he can’t believe it, so much respect does he have for his Admiral and his Regent, and that he has already agreed. Arabella runs out, leaving him calling after her.
It’s up to Arabella to find a way to get to Mars before the fleet, to warn the Martians, and to organize a rebellion. The navigational challenges of getting to Mars at all during this season of the year are nearly impossible. If anyone can make the run, it’s Arabella.