Twice, the people of Sonya have lost a planet. Rape and destruction wrenched their homeworld from them, honor forced them to withdraw from the new one they planned to make their own. Only a single hope remains of ever establishing themselves as an independent, viable society, an outside chance at an untested world offered to them by a strange member of another ultrasystem. Durgan of Korova secures the right to settle the planet Helena for the exiles on condition that they explore her and adapt themselves to her. The work is hard and the conditions under which it must be performed are alien to this community of farmers. Dangers soon arise both from space and from Helena’s wildlife, but another peril, familiar and terrible, threatens the survival of the planet herself and challenges the integrity of those who would call her their home.
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