In Wichita, Kansas, 34-year-old career computer thief and con man Evesham Giyt decides to emigrate to the colony world Tupelo with his girlfriend Rina. Tupelo is mostly water with only a few islands, and--to Giyt's amazement-also harbors no fewer than five other colonies of different alien races! Giyt soon fixes Tupelo's computers and finds himself elected mayor but thereby makes an enemy of the obstructive and evasive Ex-Earth resident agent Hoak Hagbarth. At first naive and immature, Giyt learns to get along with the various ""eeties,"" who all refer to Tupelo as the Peace Planet. Hagbarth tries to pressure Giyt into grabbing control of the planet's interstellar transporter and, later, to help smuggle in forbidden weapons; when Giyt resists, Hagbarth resorts to dirty tricks. Soon, the head honchos of all the races hold a grand meeting on Tupelo. Hagbarth, Giyt suspects, is plotting something, so Giyt must use his computer skills and his good relations with the eeties to find out what it is and stop him. Pohl's yarn (The Siege of Eternity, 1997, etc.) sparkles on two levels: as an accomplished, distinctive science fiction coming-of-ager; and as a sometimes hysterically funny satire on politics in the corporate boardroom, featuring such characters as the Principal Slug, the Petty-Prime Responsible One, and the Centaurian Divinely Elected Savior (recognize anyone?). Pure pleasure: Pohl in top form.