Daniel Trevor, a captured killer in the Earth colony on Trent, has the choice of death or banishment to Beta Colony on man's near-barren, strangely hostile home planet in deep space. Shipped to Earth, Daniel is absorbed into a barbaric tribe and gets entangled with telepathic killer-girl Derl. And when the twosome is captured by the Nuuians--supertelepathic aliens who are attempting to unite the universe into a single mind--Daniel learns that the Nuuians have in fact undermined Beta Colony by enslaving the populace and turning it into a huge crew of coal-miners. The biggest obstacle to the Nuuian game-plan: fiery, telepathic Derl. After a final battle, the Nuuians give up altogether and leave Earth--but Daniel and Deft must still come to terms with their almost preadolescent need to hate and kill each other. . . . The love story is greasy kid stuff, but the depiction of mind-states (especially that of the totally-objective aliens) is intriguing--another talented, uneven entry from the author of Encounter Program (1977).