Some time in the future, an advanced civilization has found a marker left by precursors, pointing at habitable worlds. The first intelligent life they find by following the marker is humans. They form some sort of union committed to peaceful exploration of the cosmos, and find a marker near or on Earth, left by the same precursor.

The story is about a team of explorers who followed these markers and found a space-faring civilization that was less advanced, so the explorers try to remain covert to avoid cultural contamination (sort of like the Prime Directive in Star Trek). Something goes wrong, and the main characters are stuck on a planet, and have to avoid detection by the locals.

While that's happening, the federation moves to effect a rescue of the stranded characters.

I read this in or before 2012. I know for sure it's not a Star Trek novel. It was similar to Enchantress from the Stars, but with no psionics.

  • Hi, welcome to the site. In roughly which year (or range of years) did you read this, and when do you think it might've been published? Also, do you recall anything about the cover? Jun 25, 2022 at 17:28
  • 2
    Unfortunately I don't remember the cover. When I saw KSR's 2312, I thought that was it, so the memory is corrupted. I read it in or before 2012
    – Giovanni
    Jun 25, 2022 at 17:32
  • Thanks for clarifying that. If anyone correctly identifies this, you can mark their answer as accepted by clicking on the check mark beneath the voting buttons, as per the tour. Jun 25, 2022 at 17:43
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    Will do, thanks.
    – Giovanni
    Jun 25, 2022 at 17:50


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