This novel is about a man who did a considerate thing, and is paying for it, big time.
The good thing that Samuel Rochez did was to keep a bomb from exploding, that would have killed many aliens called the Loscar. Unfortunately, humanity was at war with the Loscar at the time, a war that humanity eventually lost. Rochez is universally reviled as the person who was responsible for humanity's defeat. His attempts to live in anonymity don't last very long.
Rochez is forced to join a band of mercenaries traveling to another planet looking for Carlinium, the rarest mineral in the galaxy. It is supposed to be a very simple operation, paving the way for the industrial mining equipment that will come later.
Rochez discovers that the planet is inhabited by very friendly flying creatures that communicate by telepathy. There is little, or no, fear of strangers. Rochez undertakes a long-distance journey with Jawell, one of the natives, to attempt to convince them that the rest of the humans mean to do them, and their planet, a great deal of harm. Along the way, the natives have a more urgent problem. Imagine a herd of stampeding buffalo heading right for your village. What, if anything, can be done about it?
Meantime, back at the ship, a major complication occurs when the Loscar visit the planet, and put it under lock and key. There is no leaving the planet without the Loscar knowing about it. A mutiny is staged because the Captain is supposedly too moderate with the natives. Rochez is re-captured, and a plan is put together to create a way to leave the planet secretly, a plan which involves a nuclear warhead which may destroy part of the planet. Can Rochez keep the home world of the natives from being destroyed?
This is a strong, well-done piece of storytelling. Parts of it might seem preachy or predictable, but it is still well worth reading.