Another thoughtful, well-handled, polished coming-of-age yarn from the author of the splendid Orbital Resonance (1991), etc. The far future, with thousands of human colonies isolated from one another by vast stellar distances, offered enormous scope for social engineering according to exotic parameters. But now, following the invention of an instantaneous transporter, many of these carefully crafted societies once again have been thrown together, and stand in danger of collapse from cultural and economic shock. On the terraformed planet Wilson, the troubadour (warrior-minstrel) culture of Nou Occitan has made its adjustments; but on Nansen, six light-years distant, the rather repressive religious/scientific society of Caledony has just begun contact. A young swashbuckling Nou Occitanian, Giraut, along with Caledony native Aimeric, volunteers to help Caledony make the adjustments necessary to survive in the larger milieu. The story that unfolds is an absorbing exploration/comparison of the two cultures, with a plot driven by the threat of cultural and economic upheaval and characters highlighted by Giraut's estimably portrayed journey toward maturity. Persuasive and well-realized, even if the plot grows more than a tad predictable toward the end. All in all, another impressive performance.