This book is four stories about a solar system joining the Hainish Ekumen. Two of the worlds are inhabited, one colonized from the other. The systems have a history of slavery, and some of the stories are told from the point of view of Ekumen observers or ambassadors, others from the point of view of natives of the system, either owner-class or slave-class. All four are very real and alive, and very touching. I'm wondering how UKL came to feel so much for people enslaved, and people dispossessed in various ways. It's really amazing how well shes able to speak for the disenfranchised. There's so much heartbreak in the things she says in plain language. I don't even know how to express it.
This book means so much to me. I'm really afraid to review it. I can't even begin to do it justice. I'm just very glad I read it again recently. So much of it I didn't recall that well from when I read it not long after it came out. I think I want to read it again probably several more times before I die.