Howard DeVore was a one-time Major in the Tang's Security forces, and has been the leading figure in the struggle against the Seven. A highly intelligent and coldly logical man, he is the puppet master behind the scenes as the great War of the Two Directions takes a new turn. Defeated first on Chung Kuo and then on Mars, he fled outward, to the tenth planet, Pluto, and its twin, Charon. From there he launched a new, massive attack on Chung Kuo, which was only defeated at great cost to Li Yuan and his allies. After a dozen years away, he returned with an army of his genetic creations - his Neumann - throwing out the old T'ang. But his success was only partial, and six years on the war he began is not yet over.