“Suppose a vast number of civilizations are distributed throughout the universe, on the order of the number of detectable stars. Lots and lots of them. Those civilizations make up the body of a cosmic society. Cosmic sociology is the study of the nature of this super-society” (p 12).
From there, the reader follows Mercier as he sways a German named Halbach to spy against his country. By book’s end, Mercier is able to smuggle top secret documents out of Germany but is promoted as punishment and ordered out of the country.