...is novice Emile Vorgens, junior officer in the Terran Empire's interstellar military arm. His first assignment -- to restore order on Oran VI (Shinar) a planet satellite of the confederation, presents a myriad of problems. Perceptive young readers will find many of the attitudes and situations that Vorgens encounters comparable to current events. As Shinar rock with cries for freedom from federation control and the natives prepare to fall in behind their invited allies, the tribal warlike Komani (non-human), suspicion begins to dawn that they are being wedged between two evils -- Federation Control or Komani domination. Vorgens, convinced that the Komani are using Shinar as a testing ground in along range plan to start a galaxy war, seeks a negotiation with the people of Shinar and ultimately leads them against their now-unmasked former allies. The book is replete with near-sighted young rebels, power and glory pursuers, fallible leaders, major and minor skirmishes, a latter-day Gandhi in the form of a dedicated priest and a quantity of unanswerable questions. The story points up the complexity of major issues in a futuristic society as prone as the present to philosophical ferment and the disruptions imposed by technological progress. It also supplies adventure.