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Retief's War (1966) - the first "Retief" novel by Keith Laumer (following story collections in 1963 & 1965.) Serialized in IF October through December 1965. You can't go wrong with the first half-dozen books that featured Jame Retief, Galactic Diplomat - all are fun, have some sarcastic bite, and most stories had title-changes when collected into book form. Here's the flap-copy from the Doubleday hardcover, which gives a reasonable summary or set-up:
The twenty-seventh century planet of Quopp is the kind of world where Earthmen walk cautiously, or do not walk at all. The inhabitants are weird creatures, half machines and all diabolical. With body chemistry both organic and inorganic, they possess spoked-wheel limbs and sprout steel sharp talons and teeth.
Sinister plots are afoot on Quopp to destroy the unity that Earth Ambassador Longspoon is courageously abetting among the scores of hostile tribes. The ambassador's plan is to place them under a single government which will - he hopes - be friendly to Earth.
But Retief, our galactic hero whom readers will remember as the protagonist in Galactic Diplomat, has discovered that evil forces of the Groaci are undermining the whole scheme. Retief goes to work quietly, with intrepid efficiency and brave cunning, against mounting planetary intrigue.
Set against the wild backdrop of the twenty-seventh century, RETIEF'S WAR pictures stirring future times when galactic diplomats - deviously sincere, uncompromisingly venal, fearlessly cowardly - strive to keep the peace. Retief, who is devoted to impractical notions of old-fashioned integrity, more than once brings those around him to the brink of nervous collapse.