Humanity pushed its way to the stars - and encountered the Gbaba, a ruthless alien race that nearly wiped us out. Earth and her colonies are now smoldering ruins, and the few survivors have fled to distant, Earth-like Safehold, to try to rebuild. But the Gbaba can detect the emissions of an industrial civilization, so the human rulers of Safehold have taken extraordinary measures - they've built a religion in which every Safeholdian believes, designed to keep Safehold society medieval forever. After 800 years, in a hidden chamber on Safehold, an android from the far human past awakens. This 'rebirth' was set in motion centuries before, by a faction that opposed shackling humanity with a concocted religion. Via automated recordings, 'Nimue' - or, rather, the android with the memories of Lieutenant Commander Nimue Alban - is told her fate - she will emerge into Safeholdian society, suitably disguised, and begin the process of provoking the technological progress which the Church of God Awaiting has worked for centuries to prevent.