"This is my story, the story of Oar. It is a wonderful story. I was in another story once,but it was not so wonderful, as I died in the end. That was very most sad indeed. But it turns out I am not such a one as stays dead forever, especially when I only fell eighty floors to the pavement. I am made of sterner stuff than that."
So begins the story of Oar, a woman made of glass. In the first Gardner book, "Expendable," Explorer Festina Ramos saved Oar's planet, Melaquin, from destruction at the hands of an insane Explorer. This time around, Oar joins Festina to unravel the mystery of the Shadill. Four hundred years ago, The Shadill offered to transport humans to a New Earth, where they may join the League of Peoples and share in its advanced technologies. These technologies include genetic engineering, advanced medical knowledge, terraforming, and Faster Than Light star drives. But why have they done this? And why are the species 'uplifted' by the Shadill stagnating?
Oar is rescued from her planet by a Divian smuggler, Uclod, and his wife, Lajooli. Oar is apparently evidence the Admiralty High Council wants suppressed so their misdeeds will not be discovered. Before the little party can escape Melaquin's system, they are attacked by a Shadill ship, but then rescued by Festina and her crew. Still fleeing from the Shadill, Oar and her company have many adventures before they discover the Shadill's secret.
Oar is a genetically-enhanced being with a near-indestructible body and super-intelligent brain. But her genetic modification has left her without the ability to mature, so she is very child-like: naive, selfish, insecure, socially inexperienced, and rash. She is also very loving. And very, very funny.