Kingdom River : Sam Monroe is the reluctant commander of a tough-minded warrior people living in what was once northern Mexico. His tiny country is flanked on the northeast by the Kingdom River, a vast, trade-driven nation that replaced the southern United States, and on the northwest by the Khanate, an empire of nomads who swept down the west coast after crossing the ice from what was once Russia. Sam's people cling to a precarious, hard-won freedom. Toghrul Khan, leader of the Khanate, wants Kingdom's lucrative trade and lush farmlands. To get them, Sam Monroe knows, the Khan's forces will march right over his people's small towns and precious homesteads. His country's only hope is an alliance with Kingdom - but the far larger Kingdom may simply swallow them up. Unless . . .