Er Thom yos'Galan is well aware that Liaden law and custom require him to marry the contract wife his clan chooses for him, and produce an heir for his line. Unfortunately, some three years ago, Er Thom fell in love with a Terran woman, Anne Davis, a professor of linguistics on the world called University. He parted from her, giving her a farewell gift, but unfortunately has not forgotten her, as one is supposed to forget pleasure loves. His refusal to marry as instructed risks creating a scandal.
When Er Thom breaks ranks even further, and heads off to University to see Anne one last time, he discovers the makings of an even more dangerous scandal--Anne gave birth to a son from their affair, a son she has named Shan yos'Galan, in honor of his father.
A yos'Galan outside the authority and protection of Clan Korval.
What follows is an epic family conflict--between Anne and Er Thom, about taking Shan to Liad, and between Er Thom and his mother Petrelia, over whether Anne and her child will be accepted. Caught in the middle is Daav yos'Phelium, Delm of Clan Korval, who loves his foster brother, but respects Petrelia's rights as head of her line.
Lurking in the background is a danger they don't suspect, Liaden forces (an early manifestation of the Department of the Interior?) outraged by the research Anne and a Liaden linguist, Professor ter'Bana, have done, showing that the Terran, Liaden, and Yxtrang languages have a common root language. These purists are also, of course, outraged by the idea of Terran-Liaden intermarriage, a view in which they are not alone in Liaden society.
This purists are also, of course, perfectly willing to use Shan as an expendable tool to get what they want.
This is a nice mix of intrigue, romance, and family drama, and a great look at a younger Er Thom and and a younger Daav.
I bought this book.