When Hilfy Chanur is offered one million credits to transport asmall religious object from Meetpoint Station to Urtur Station, sheknows the deal looks too good to be true. But one million creditswill pay off all her bills, while to turn down the deal might causeher to lose face. What she doesn’t anticipate is that she willalso have to take on board a Stsho dignitary to care for theobject. Stsho, unfortunately, are extraordinarily delicate andfastidious—not qualities that suit them for shipboardlife.
Adding to the complications is the release to Hilfy’s custody ofHallan Meras, a male of her species, who was jailed for some minorviolence on Meetpoint Station. Hallan must be hidden from theStsho, lest the sight of a huge male from a species where males areknown for uncontrollable violence should excite the Stsho to anearly death.
Upon arrival at Urtur, it is found that the intended recipientof the religious object has left, and Hilfy and her crew must findhim or forfeit the contract. They notice a ship that keeps onemove ahead of the LEGACY, and meet with a mysterious Kif, who mayor may not be a person to trust.
Although the only human in the tale is seen in flashbacks,Cherryh’s characters are easy to identify with and believe in. Thestory itself is compelling reading. This is the fifth noveldealing with the Chanur clan, but knowledge of earlier novels isn’tnecessary to enjoy this one.