In the near future, Earth astronomers begin to receive mysterious transmissions. When translated, they turn out to be a gift of advanced technology from a civilization thousands of light-years away, that resolved to share its achievements before becoming extinct. Many of mankind’s problems- food, water and energy supplies, disease and pollution, global warming- are solved within a generation, but the most dramatic advance is cheap and easy interstellar travel. Sudden, unregulated expansion across unimaginable volumes of space produces a bewildering variety of social systems in a very short time, and one of the new colonies is Atlantis, where the majority of the people are slaves. Some have volunteered, some are criminals sentenced to servitude for life, some are the families of bankrupts, heretics or subversives, and a small but increasing number have been specially bred for their roles.
The planet is ruled by a clique of proprietors and landed aristocrats, some of whom own dozens or even hundreds of slaves. The poorest residents own at least a tenth share in a slave, usually through a syndicate. The numerous tourists- for the benign climate and natural beauty of the world make it a natural resort- have ready access to pleasure slaves, often included as part of their package holidays. Many- probably most- slaves have been modified, using pre-existing or received technology, to serve particular functions.
The majority are skilled and versatile sex-slaves, with their libidos and responses greatly enhanced. Many are also ponygirls or boys, hucows, household servants or display slaves, while the less well-favoured haul ploughs, farm carts and harvesters, or are general labourers.
This story follows the fortunes of one of the leading noblemen and slaveowners on Atlantis, as he seeks to expand his stock and find innovative ways of putting them to use. A politically ambitious man, he has led a relatively carefree life until he encounters rivals who are jealous of his increasing influence. Then he is made to understand that human beings are not the only recipients of the aliens’ bounty, and others, closer to the source of the transmissions, have already been exploiting it for hundreds of Earth years.