When Earth is contacted by galactic civilization, our heroic couplet - diplomat Tom Parent, and his linguist wife, Lucy - prove themselves to be just the pair to tour the galaxy representing Earth and learning the whys and wherefores of galactic civilization. There's only one tiny catch to this grand tour - on Tom and Lucy's performance hinges our acceptance by the rest of the galaxy as a civilized world rather than as ward of some more "advanced" species. (You don't want Earth to become a Galactic ward.).
Gordon R. Dickson (1923 - 2001)
Gordon Rupert Dickson was born in Alberta, Canada, in 1923 but resided in the United States from the age of thirteen. Along with Robert A. Heinlein, he is regarded as one of the fathers of military space opera, his Dorsai! sequence being an early exemplar of both military SF and Future History. Dickson was one of the rare breed of authors as well known for his fantasy as his SF - The Dragon and the George, the first novel in his Dragon Knight sequence, was shortlisted for the World Fantasy Award and won the British Fantasy Award. Dickson's work also won him three Hugos and Nebula. He died in 2001.