From publisher blurb:
Vast fortunes are being made by extracting the many resources of the worlds of the Fringe, and doing so where there is little law and even less oversight from the otherwise watchful eyes of the governments back home in the Core Worlds. Yet, while vast sums of wealth are being traded back and forth, amongst the few, the vast bulk of the population out in the Fringe lives in abject poverty, sometimes even in slavery.
Vast fortunes existing with little law and oversight mixed with a dash of abject poverty for the many - it is a heady mixture. And one of the things that mixture produces is piracy. The allure of seizing a wealthy cargo and becoming instantly rich (or at least well-off for a time) succors many. And if they make the attempt, and survive the results, the dream can even become true. (Until the day the Star Marshals come knocking on your door, of course.)
While pirates are commonly known for being an independent lot, in actuality, a surprisingly large amount of the piracy that occurs is sponsored piracy. Of this, the most common type is corporate piracy - pirates given a free hand to seize as much as they can grab of all assets of the sponsor's rivals (whether rivals corporate, government, or civilian). And since in the Fringe, the corporations are oft the most sizable force of law in the region, not the government, that can wind up being a very free hand indeed. As long as you are caught somewhere where the sponsor has influence, that is, and not somewhere controlled exclusively by a rival power.
These corporate privateers may, from time to time, be tasked by the sponsor with seizing a particular cargo, but they are mostly given free reign to act as they normally would as pirates, except with an extremely favored list of people to hit (and a list of friends not to hit), with bonus pay for hitting certain targeted goals, such as taking X amount from a certain corporate rival and their agents.
However, privateers are far from the only pirates operating within the Fringe. On the other side of things are those awful individuals that have given piracy its feared reputations - the most depraved, the most foul in their deeds and action. Slavers, killers and kidnappers, these pirates are well-known for boarding ships in the deeps of space and raping, torturing, and killing all on board. They prey on small trade ships and transports, but have also been known to raid outlying outposts and colonies with equally brutal force and carnage. There are countless bands of these pirates, some as small as a few hard individuals, or as large as the Pirate Lords of the outer belts, with thousands of blackguards and hundreds of ships within their company. Some of these Pirate Lords have made such a name for themselves that they are even known by the common citizens back on the Core Worlds. Names such a Black-Eyed Pete and the pirate queen Morgan the Red-Handed. Others, though, are just nameless killers and raiders, seeking a quick path to riches within the backdrop of the hard life within the hard part of the galaxy that is the space frontier.