This is one of LeGuin's earliest novels, and she places it at the beginning of the Ekumen books, if only for that reason. The Ekumen doesn't exist yet, instead we have a League of Worlds, that isn't as respectful and non-interfering as the Ekumen at all. They have interplanetary wars and everyfink. This is the book I picked up for 20 kr in a second-hand book dealer's in Stockholm, and the fecking thing was falling apart as I was reading. What a waste of money! But speaking of spending money, apparently there's an edition with this book, Planet of Exile and City of Illusions all in one, and that would be quite nice to have. Although, to be honest, I'd have to read the latter two first for free, because maybe (backtracking!) they're not that good and I don't want to own them. Hm, tricky and pondersome.
So first I read the blurb on the back of the book, and my, was it funny. It's so funny I have to quote the whole thing. Ready?
"On the far planet of Fomalhaut II, where three races lived in uneasy peace, the Starlords had landed generations back in their great ships to levy tribute on behalf of the League if All Worlds. Now disaster had struck, and Rocannon, the expedition leader, was marooned on that distant world, eight years away from the nearest planet.
His friends murdered and his spaceship destroyed, Rocannon led the battle to save Fomalhaut II, in strange alliance with the three native races - the cavern-dwelling Gdemiar, the elvish Fiia and the warrior-clan Liuar. And in that desperate battle against an alien foe the myths were born and the legends grew. They were not his people, but the place became Rocannon's World."
Isn't it hilarious? You can almost hear the deep voice intoning it for the sci-fi special on Friday night. This is an interesting mix between science-fiction and fantasy, since the warrior clan are, well, just that, and speak like something from the more high-falutin' pages of Tolkien, all while they hack at people with swords. I'm not sorry I read it, but it's not fantastic. Bits of it are though. Bits are GREAT.