This skillful and entertaining exploration of language and cross-cultural communication presents a portrait of sentient beings in the midst of discovering written language. The Xenolinguists are a guild of alien-language translators who travel the galaxy. Translator Ries Danyo is a down-on-his-luck lingster, so far gone he's hooked on zyth. Once a promising talent, he's fallen to interpreting for the deputy commissioner’s wife on her shopping sprees in the Freh bazaar. But when a Freh uprising leads to murder, Danyo must lead the commissioner’s daughters to safety on a journey that irrevocably changes the Frehti language and the future of Krishna itself.