After millennia of relentless war, the union of alien races called the Weave was on the verge of winning a decisive victory – thanks to their new allies from Earth, who in a mere handful of centuries had proved masters of combat. But then the birdlike Wais scholar Lalelelang found disturbing evidence that Humans might not adapt so easily to peace – that natural Human aggression would next be turned against the Weave, unless they were once again confined to fight amongst themselves.

When her field research revealed the existence of a secret group of powerfully telepathic Humans called the Core, it looked as if Lalelelang would be the first victim in a new war between Humans and their allies. But just as her fate was sealed, a lone Core commander took a chance on her intelligence and compassion, gambling the fate of Humanity on the possibility that together they could both find an alternative to a galaxy-wide bloodbath…