Wrapping up a trilogy (The Light-Years Beneath My Feet, 2005, etc.) about a group of alien abductees trying to find their way home.
Human Marcus Walker, the dog George (given the ability to talk), the huge Tuuqalian, Braouk and Sque the multi-limbed K’eremu, are being escorted by the kindly if commercially minded Niyyuu in three spaceships to try and locate their home worlds. When they touch down on planet Hyff to ask directions, the natives greet them with shock and fear; the Hyfft assumed they were their hereditary enemies, the Iollth, come for the usual pillaging and rapine. Instead, the voyagers teach the unwarlike Hyfft to defend themselves, so that when the real Iollth show up, they easily defeat them. And since the defeated Iollth won’t go home until they redeem their honor, they pledge their services to Walker. From the Hyfft astronomers, they learn the location of planet Tuuqalia, and soon Braouk enjoys a joyful reunion with his species. After various adventures, the squadron heads out once more, now augmented with some Tuuqalian ships as well; after dropping off Sque on planet K’erem, some more adventures and a reunion with their erstwhile captors, the Vilenjji, they begin a serious search for Earth—but not before Walker learns something very important about himself.
The sort of facile diversion an old stager like Foster could dash off in his sleep—and probably did.