The Ged, an alien race locked in fight with the human race, is losing the war big time. They don’t know much about the humans, but they do know that their enemy is much more adaptable and aggressive than they themselves ever could be, and so they try to learn about the humans, their psychology and behavior. On the world Qom, where descendants of a crushed human spaceship live again in primitive ways, the Ged kidnap some of the natives and put them into a camp. And while trying to educate the humans, the Ged try to learn as much about them as possible, to understand them and hopefully find a way to fight back humanity.
Interesting idea, isn’t it? Well, I can tell you the only thing the Ged learn and what shocks them utterly and terrible is that humans can change their allegiances, but not only that, they can even shift their loyalty from their own race to another, a concept as alien as alien can be to the Ged.
One problem of the book is that the Ged are not a very good realized alien race, we know they are not as adaptable as humans and that the concept of shifting loyalties is horrifying to them, but why that is so, why they think like that isn’t shown convincingly and thus the Ged look like cardboard aliens. But the main problem of the book is that it’s utterly boring. The whole plot is that the Ged try to educate the humans and try to understand them, until they find out the difference between the two races, without anything interesting happening in between.