His Excellency Horace Hussein Al-Shamlan Bury, trader and magnate, had hoped never again to hear mention of the gripping hand. Moties, the only aliens mankind has ever encountered, have two delicate right arms with small, wonderfully dextrous hands - and one powerful left arm, which wields the gripping hand . . .
While Bury is investigating an excess of cash on the Imperial planet Maxroy's Purchase, his long-time friend and pilot Kevin Renner first sounds the alarm: the dreaded Moties have escaped quarantine. And so begins for Bury and Renner an adventure unsuited to men of their age, which returns them to Mote Prime, launches them into battle in space . . . and reveals, once more, their unorthodox appreciation of Motie intelligence and ingenuity.