From the author of Downbelow Station: a believable and well worked-out tale about a human child raised by aliens. Duun is a furry, bipedal, cat-like alien whose people have a modern technology--though their social system is medieval-Japanese-flavored, based on squabbling guilds. And, when a human spaceship entered this solar system 17 years ago, it was Duun who led an attack that destroyed the intruder: severely wounded during the attack, Duun took some cells from one of the slain Earthmen and produced a clone, Thorn, whom he has raised as a son. Thorn, then, is raised in the brutal rigors of the hatani way. (Duun is a hatani--a sort of wandering samurai/judge; the hatani are jealously opposed by the other guilds.) The clone-youth proves to be an apt pupil. But, though he is told little of his origins until he passes the test of hatani-ship, Thorn soon takes on heavy responsibilies: he must minimize a potentially disastrous inter-guild war; and he also must learn the language and culture of his human forbears. . . and attempt to communicate with them. None of this is especially profound or particularly original. However, it is fast-moving, tautly written, and pleasingly sure-footed--soothing, if not moving.