From the back cover:
FOUR YEARS AGO: The Klingon Empire invaded Cardassia, breaching the Khitomer Accords and causing a break with The Federation. On taD, depleted Klingon forces were overthrown in a small coup d'état, and the victorious rebels took advantage of the disruption to appeal for recognition from the Federation.
NOW: The Klingons have returned to taD and re-established their control. But the stubborn rebels insist on Federation recognition. A solution to the diplomatic impasse must be found, a task that falls to the Federation's new ambassador to the Klingon Empire: Worf. Worf thinks of himself as a fighter, not a negotiator, but the Federation disagrees. Now, for the sake of the Federation and the Empire, a Klingon warrior must weave a fragile peace out of a situation ripe for war.
- 0% Approval Rating: Kalax the Governor has offended both the population and his Klingon High Council masters with his Stupid Evil tactics and constant Never My Fault antics.
- The Cameo: Mark McHenry and Soleta from Star Trek: New Frontier show up briefly, leaving messages of congratulations to their old friend Worf.
- Continuity Nod: Many.
- Duel to the Death: Toq and Kegren, when Toq challenges Kegren for the position of Second Officer aboard the Gorkon.
- The Emperor: Planet taD is traditionally ruled by an emperor, who was typically female, at least prior to the Klingon occupation. Under the Klingons, the emperor became a figurehead, and was more frequently male. In the end, the conflict between the native rebels and the empire is resolved by installing a Klingon as emperor. This keeps the Klingons technically in charge while placing much of the genuine decision-making power with native al'Hmatti. The new emperor is Vall, of all people.
- Hired Guns: The Kreel who attack the Gorkon; they've been hired by rebels on taD to harrass any ship approaching the planet.
- Hold Your Hippogriffs: "Nobody gives a targ's hoof..."
- Honor Before Reason: Inevitable with Klingons. A particularly powerful example is former governor Kalax, who committed ritual suicide to restore his honor after losing taD to the rebels.
- taD is a planet Martok couldn't care less about as its contribution to the Klingon Empire's GDP is minimal and it costs a lot to keep pacified but he needs to look strong on it to keep other, more important, planets from getting ideas.
- Kicked Upstairs: Captain Klag gets rid of First Officer Drex this way."I can say with absolute certainty that you did not receive this commission due to your skills. Like our friend the ambassador, you have the chancellor to thank for your position. But unlike the ambassador, I have no reason to believe that you might rise above the nepotism. I cannot justify removing you from this post. I can, however, give you a promotion".
- In a sense, the same thing happens to Vall. He didn't fit in on the Gorkon (or among Klingon warriors in general), and rather than have to deal with the...awkwardness...any longer, he volunteered for the role of Emperor of taD. Klag and company swiftly agreed.
- King Bob the Nth: Emperor me'Grmat.
- Klingon Promotion: Obviously. Specifically, its how eager young Toq ends up as Second Officer.
- Klingon Scientists Get No Respect: An actual plot point as both Kurak and Vall struggle with being engineers in the culture. Kurak deals with it by doing the bare minimum required of her while Vall tries to tinker as well as make friends. It results in a natural pair of friends becoming hostile to one another.
- Lady Land: Pre-conquest taD was female-dominated. Under the Klingons, its puppet government is male-dominated. Hence me'Grmat's necklace problem (see below).
- Legacy Character: Emperor me'Grmat.
- Meaningful Name: taD. It's Klingon for "frozen".
- Mistaken for Racist: At one point B'Oraq's stint in a medical exchange program to Starfleet is brought up, and how she had to go to the head of Starfleet Medical (at the time, Beverley Crusher) because she wasn't being allowed to actually learn techniques or assist in surgery, but was being given menial work. When Crusher spoke to the other doctors, it turns out they weren't doing this because they didn't like Klingons, they were just aware of Klingon society's views on medicine and knew that B'Oraq wouldn't actually be allowed to practice any of the techniques she learned once she returned.
- The Mole: ge'Tvrona, a mine-worker who is apparently friends with the Klingon overseers and businessmen. In fact, he's a rebel.
- My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Vall, who is most certainly not the tough, aggressive warrior so typical of Klingons. He's a rather weedy and sensitive engineer; in the words of Toq, "a Grishnar cat that survives among the targs".
- Planet of Hats: The al'Hmatti are a race of sentient polar bears living an ice planet.
- The Quisling: Emperor me'Grmat is an aversion as he's loved by both the people and tolerated by the Klingons due to his peacekeeping efforts.
- Reality Ensues: Kurak continually puts down every innovation Vall makes on the Gorkon from improving the replicators to a life-saving holodeck modification. When the captain finds about this and that her motivation is simply she hates her job, he immediately demotes her.
- Drex's half-assing his job and insulting his father's close political ally eventually gets him Reassigned to Antarctica.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: Vall gets this in a literal sense as he's made Emperor of a Polar Bear Planet. Subverted as he volunteered for the mission and it allows him to work on rebuilding the planet's infrastructure.
- Drex has this happen to him as a result of his offending his captain and Worf both.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Worf plays this role in the book, being a man sympathetic to both the rebels as well as the Klingon occupation.
- Reluctant Ruler: The Emperor, who was picked for the role by the Klingons because he was universally beloved by the people. He would indeed be a good leader because of this, in keeping with the trope if he had any real power.
- Requisite Royal Regalia: Emperor me'Grmat's necklace. Amusingly, it has a tendency to fall off, having been designed for females (who have thin necks). As a maned male with a neck thicker than his head, he can't bend over without it sliding off.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: Played with; not really played straight at all. While the al'Hmatti are indeed victimized by Klingon oppression, at least one Klingon overseer is genuinely distressed to discover an al'Hmatti he thought was a friend was a terrorist/freedom fighter. His despair when his "friend" turns on him is presented sympathetically. Both Klingon and al'Hmatti are treated with respect by the author throughout, though the reality of al'Hmatti oppression is not denied.
- Single-Biome Planet: taD is an ice world, hence its name in Klingon.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Kurak's favourite complaint.
- Take a Third Option: Worf has orders from his House the planet must remain in Klingon hands but the Federation wants the planet to have freedom and assistance. The rebels are also interested in fighting until the Klingons are driven off, no matter what. So he installs a figurehead monarch over the planet and essentially makes it a Klingon Commonwealth.