Rear cover synopsis:
"John Adams and Kevin O'Hara are graduates of North Dakota's great Mandan Space Academy. Both trained to be conquistadors of space, explorers in the age of interstellar imperialism, Adams and O'Hara are as different as any two space scouts could possibly be. Now, together, they are sent to explore a distant world called Harlech. The Harlechians are unclassified aliens; relations with their women are strictly forbidden by the Interplanetary Colonial Authority. Adams is willing to play by the rules--but whoever made those rules hadn't counted on the lusty Red O'Hara, rakehell of heaven ... From the Adams-O'Hara probe, only John Adams returns."
This book wasn't one of his better ones. The premise is that two humans are sent into space and make first contact with an alien culture. However, when Red O'Hara and John Adams land on a planet that has a society based on academic learning and pleasure without war, crime, or poverty. The citizens of Harlech live underground to escape the terrible static electricity storms that occasionally cover the surface. Their society is made up of "Universities" rather than cities. After making contact O'Hara and Adams learn the native tongue and request to teach about Earth customs and religions during the academic terms of the University that they have landed near.
The Space Exploration team has a series of rules that are supposed to guide their conduct, We see both men slipping loose from these constraints and becoming more and more familiar with the local Halrachians, most noticeably the women.
I feel like this book didn't age well, and compared to the other books I have read by this author it is much more abstract than the two books that precede it (it is the third in a space exploration trilogy). However, John Boyd's prose is as ever enjoyable and almost lyrical to read.