This is a standalone novel, possibly a debut.
During the last glacial era, more than 125,000 years ago, humans interbred with the R'il'nai and then they spread across the galaxy colonizing other planets. Even though they formed a Confederation, they still needed the R'il'nai for guidance as well as protection from others, including each other.
Only one pure bred R'il’nai still alive, Lai who mourns his lost human love but is still bound to honor his race’s responsibility to the Confederation. There are two others who possess the potential to change the future, both his and the Confederacy's. Snowy is a young slave with powers that frightened him, while Marna is a healer who survived a planet-wide epidemic.
Each has individual loyalty that conflicts with each other. Yet, they must work together to create a future that will benefit everyone.
This is rare sci-fi novel with fine world building and great character development. The action is in the characters, the science is believable, the outlook goes from negative to positive fluidly within the characters. This is a must read and a keeper. ~~ Pam Allan