When the Catteni ships descended on earth, it was one of the most terrifying experiences humankind had ever known. Kris Bjornsen, along with thousands of others, found herself herded by forcewhips into the hold of giant spaceships to be transported to the slave compounds of an alien planet. And even then it wasn't over. For, after a partially successful escape attempt, Kris was once more shipped across space - to an apparently empty and untamed planet. The Catteni just dumped an assorted load of humans and aliens on the strange world and left them to see what would happen. Brilliantly the refugees began to organize themselves into a pattern of survival. The planet was eerie and not as empty as it seemed. For someone - something - had built giant storage barns - the planet was being used as a huge larder - for an entity they could not comprehend. As Kris and her patrol set out to explore the enigmatic world she had yet another problem to contend with - the presence of Zainal, the high-ranking patrician Catteni who had been abandoned with the rest of them. Zainal was strong, brilliant, and...kind, and Kris was puzzled by his presence, his personality, and above all by the tenuous tie she felt towards this man - who was not a man but one of the hated Catteni.