Young Terran Jethri Gobelyn's sheltered life aboard his family's space-going trade vessel is interrupted when he's apprenticed to a Liaden ship. Oddly enough, Jethri's inexperience could make him rich if he can be mentored to bridge the gap between the two rival clans. But as cultures clash, Jethri learns the importance Liadens place on honor, the many missteps that can unintentionally cause offense, and how hard it is to say 'I'm sorry' in Liaden. Adding to his difficulties is a beguiling pair of Liaden twins who may be able to read his thoughts. With the balance of trade depending on him, Jethri must learn fast, or become a pawn in a game that will destroy all that he holds dear.