Addition to McCaffrey's series (Freedom's Challenge, 1998, etc.) about the multispecies colonists of planet Botany, dropped involuntarily there by the catlike Catteni after they conquered Earth. Now, though, the Eosi, who dominated the Catteni, have been defeated and driven away; Earth is again free. But the planet's infrastructure and economy have been smashed; many of the manufactures needed to rebuild civilization were looted by the Catteni and deposited on the merchant planet Barevi. Despite a lack of buyers, the Barevi traders refuse to yield the looted goods. So Kris Bjornsen, her lover Zainal the Catteni, and the other Botanists must find a way to recover the goods through trade. But what to trade? Well, the Catteni are hooked on coffee, so the Botanists maneuver to pick up a big load of fresh-roasted Kenyan. And the Catteni, much given to fighting, frequently loose or break teeth; gold teeth are both stylish and fashionable, and dentistry is not among Catteni accomplishments. One of the Botanists happens to be a dentist: he's able to pick up supplies and equipment in half-ruined New York . . . If none of this sounds particularly exciting or enthralling—that's because it isn't.
An unlikely and soporific concatenation of aliens, coffee, dentistry, and shopping: for dogged series fans only.