Set in Niven’s Known Space, more specifically on the world of Plateau, where the only habitable location is Mount Lookitthat, an area half the size of California that rises above the toxic clouds that range the planet. The crew of the initial colony ship set up an elitist society in which “crew” are first class citizens and “colonists” are lower class. This distinction is particularly noticeable when it comes to medical care. Capital punishment is used even for small offenses. Convicted criminals are harvested for their organs, thus allowing “crew” to extend their lives with transplants. Then a ship comes from Earth with some disruptive new technology.
While not one of the more flamboyant Known Space novels, it is cleverly constructed around some very intriguing ideas. Classic Niven.