When I imagined writing a space-opera based on Alcibiades' career I was always looking at him from Athens' point of view: the desirable scandalous youth, rumors in absence, the return. Kress gives us the eyes of the innocent colony he descends upon. He rips them right apart; they have no immunity to rhetoric, let alone betrayal.
History is an overt theme. The colony remembers very little about Earth except that everything had gone disastrously wrong; they have intentionally ignored history, believing it irrelevant. (Clearly, not; the memory should have made them wary.) By the end of the story, they have probably made themselves unique among human settlements, and past knowledge is less relevant to them. They regret having ignored the past, but I can imagine Kress going on and showing that they become so different they can't understand it.
ISBN: 0765306883So wrote clew in SF&F.