"The Spear Carrier" by A.M. Dellamonica
Opal is angry. She has been busting her tail trying to assimilate into Arune culture, to become an adopted member of their civilization, and the youngest offworld ambassador from Earth ever. And now her adoption and ambassador’s post is being given to an old man with absolutely no qualifications. And she has to keep him alive in a world where the slightest insult, real or imagined, genuine or fabricated, can get him killed. Further complicating things is the fact that the Budjman she loves, and whom she was counting on to sponsor her into Budj society, has become her usurper’s sponsor.
Ms. Dellamonica has created a complex world and sympathetic characters. I enjoyed the story thoroughly, as far as it went, but I think this world would be an excellent setting for a novel.