Three thousand years after Earth's colonization of the planet Borthan, stories of self-serving hypocrisy that occurred among the first arrivals have bred a culture that forbids emotional sharing and denies the naturally human concept of 'self'. The result is a lasting peace, but at a terrible price. For it is a peace without love, without self, where even the mention of the word 'I' is taboo. Spurred on by the arrival of an Earthman with a self-baring drug, Kinnall Darival breaks the strict code of the Covenant to record the sordid details of his rebellious life from the days of his royal youth to self-appointed prophet of love. He begins his account with the greatest of heresies: 'I am Kinnall Darival and I mean to tell you all about myself.'