Science Fiction Novel in which Alien Species Asks Earth to Rule Over Them


New Member
Feb 8, 2024
I read a science fiction novel over fifteen years ago that I can't remember the title or author of. I'll include what I remember of the plot and other details that might be relevant. I've been totally unable to find this book so I'd really appreciate anyone who could help me out!

As well as I can remember, the plot involves an alien species reaching out to humanity and asking them to rule over the alien society. Humanity had, at that point, not spread beyond our own solar system and many governments on Earth see the aliens' offer as a huge opportunity. Various world powers send delegates to the alien world to make their case for why they should be put in charge. The story follows the captain of a spacecraft who is sent by the Windsor family (who live in exile on a space station after the British Isles are destroyed in a nuclear war with a confederation of Asian countries). The captain meets and befriends one of the aliens who teaches him about the alien culture. (It gets a little fuzzy from here) The various governments' spacecraft engage in battle over who should rule over the alien species towards the end of the book. The humans also find out that the aliens are actually a genetically engineered servant race for a related species from the same planet. the species that created the servant race have almost entirely died out and are searching for new protectors for their servant race (who are unable to sufficiently protect themselves due to being engineered to be docile). The book ends with the protagonist and his alien friend making a case to the engineering species that the servant species can and should be allowed to govern themselves, resulting in the engineering species agreeing and revealing that their goal all along was for their servant species to come to this realization and suggest it on their own to prove they could do it.

Bit of a jumble, I know. I'll include a few other miscellaneous details that might help.

The aliens are shorter than humans, have four legs, two arms, and rust-colored fur. Humanity has not met any other aliens.

The book begins with the protagonist and his crew hunting pirates in an asteroid field.

The human spacecraft have rotating rings to simulate gravity. The alien ships use a complex system of stored momentum to travel at great speeds.

The alien species have a stage in their reproductive cycle referred to as "the quickening."

The space battle near the end of the novel is the first occurrence of large-scale combat between space vessels in human history. The vessels make use of both nuclear arms as well as torpedoes that release clouds of shrapnel.

The protagonist is also a disgraced captain (I believe of the English space navy). I can't remember why though. He's generally considered to be a poor captain and he, other characters, and even the narration go to great lengths to impress this upon you.

to my knowledge, this is a standalone novel, not part of a series.

I believe that the aliens communicate with each other partially through the use of pheromones. I could be wrong about that, though. They definitely do use translators to communicate with humans, though, as they physically cannot reproduce human speech.

Hopefully, this is enough for someone to recognize the book I'm talking about. Some of the details might be a bit off, but I'm certain that the most memorable details are accurate enough that it should be clear what book this is if anyone is familiar.