Chronologically, this is the earliest book in the Liaden Universe. It tells the story of the founders of the Korval line of Liad as featured in the other Liaden books.
If you haven't read any of the other books, I think this is a good place to start. The universe has certainly changed in the generations between Cantra and Val Con, so much so, that reasonable efforts are made to explain how Jela found tree and ended up with Cantra. While this book contains a grand adventure, it just barely manages to introduce enough premise to position the core characters and races for the next book to propel them toward their place in history. I haven't read Crystal Dragon yet, but it boggles the mind to think enough could be resolved in one more book to setup the rest of the series.