Cadwal is a planetary nature reserve inhabited and managed by a small group of rigidly organized families. Glawen Clattuc, a policeman, finds trouble growing just below the surface.
Araminta Station has less of the wordplay that makes so many Vance books great fun to read. That’s not to say it’s not classic Vance – there are strict societies, dispassionate characters, and alien landscapes galore. But the verbiage is somewhat tamer than in other books. At the same time, Vance focuses more on the detective aspect than usual. In short, this is an excellent SF crime mystery handled with Jack Vance style and panache.
The hero, Glawen Clattuc, is more approachable and ‘normal’ than many Vance protagonists, but true normality is reserved for Eustace Chilke, a supporting character. This book establishes the setting of the Cadwal Conservancy (a protected planet) and the pressures it faces. However, the scale of the story is mostly focused on Glawen and his struggles with rivals, love, and society.