From the back cover: After two hundred years of civil war the planet Oriana is dying. Most of the surface vegetation is gone, the air is nearly unbreathable, and the people themselves are dying. Now, the two warring factions have finally sat down to talk peace, and Captain Picard and the U.S.S. Enterprise are sent to help them negotiate a settlement.
Picard, Lt. Worf, and Counselor Troi beam down to Oriana, just as the Starship Enterprise is called away on another urgent mission. Alone on the planet, the U.S.S. Enterprise team learns that there are people that would rather finish the devastating conflict than talk peace. Suddenly, Picard is accused of murder and the delicate negotiations have fallen into the hands of Lt. Worf.
Now, Worf and Troi must unravel the truth and prevent planet-wide disaster, before time runs out for the people of Oriana and the crew of the Starship Enterprise.
The Enterprise has been called to the planet Oriana, where a two hundred year war between two factions, the Venturies and the Torlicks, has left the world on the verge of environmental collapse. Picard, Worf and Troi beam to the surface, whereupon the Enterprise receives a distress call from a previously unknown race, the Milgians. Picard orders Riker to leave orbit and investigate.
The away team discover things are worse than they imagined: The planet is so polluted that few healthy children are born, many dying in infancy and the rest needing extensive reconstructive surgery. It also seems the Orianians have vast mental powers that have fallen into disuse. They discover there is a third group on the planet, the non-violent Greens who practise genetic manipulation procedures the other factions find abhorrent, and Picard insists they are also invited to the peace talk.
However, the Venturie leader, General Alick, is poisoned during the opening meeting. Since evidence shows he was killed by a genetically engineered substance, Torlick leader General Basha blames Picard and the Green delegation and has them arrested and sentenced to execution. Worf and Troi attempt to prove Picard's innocence and are shocked that the Orianians expect them to torture suspects. They realise the same fate will soon befall Picard and hurry to warn him but he agrees to submit on learning the torture will cause pain but no harm. However, when one of the Greens accidentally dies as a result, Talanne, Basha's wife and deputy, offers to take Worf and Troi to meet the Greens.
Geordi and Crusher realise that the Milgian chief engineer sabotaged their living ship, having been bribed by one of the Orianian leaders, and the whole thing was a ruse to lure the Enterprise away from the planet.
Worf and Troi learn that the Greens have used their mental link with their living planet to create a fertile area and also used their genetic manipulation techniques to give Talanne a healthy son, Jeric. They head to stop Picard's execution, which Basha is personally supervising. Talanne realises Basha killed Alick, having tricked one of the Green delegation into providing the poison, and has offered the Milgians genetic information in return for weapons to end the war. Basha is arrested, to be handed over to the Venturies.
With all sides now committed to peace, as well as the restoration of their planet and helping the similarly afflicted Milgians, Picard, Worf and Troi leave Oriana to await the arrival of a permanent Federation adviser.
- Basha • Beverly Crusher • Data • Geordi La Forge • Jean-Luc Picard • William Riker • Talanne • Deanna Troi • Worf
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- In January 2010, it was announced that Nightshade was to be reprinted in September to fill a gap in the Star Trek publishing schedule. 
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