The Alastor Cluster is made up of thirty thousand inhabited planets whose sole protector of law is the mysterious Connatic. On the planet Wyst, Number 1716 of the Alastor Cluster, can be found a Utopia – or so it claims. There, in one great city live millions of people, sharing alike, working in  absolute equality for just a few hours a week.  But there is something decidedly strange about it all which finally forces the Connatic to send a trusted investigator to bring back the facts – even at the cost of his life.