This book takes place on an abandoned world intended to be natural and develop its own races, who would hopefully be available for uplift. A small population of each of six races, in turn, have landed small colonies on the world. Their intent is to devolve and be re-uplifted, and hopefully to avoid attention and possible punishment from the stellar community. Humans are one of the six.
These races have ancient antipathy for each other. And each brings unique skills and histories. They have overcome their differences, and their are pieces of culture of each that has worked its way into the others, yet they do maintain separate communities.
The story revolves around the arrival of a spaceship or renegade humans. Their intent is unknown, and seems sinister. They aren’t an official envoy, so they shouldn’t be here, either.
This story shows us a different side of each of the races, including the humans. It maintains its suspense on the invaders, and latent tension among the six races.
Unfortunately, this book mostly sets up the series and doesn’t resolve much of anything. The story is interesting, and a must read if you’re interested in the Uplift series.