Leon Vardis' is out for revenge. After his mother is burnt as a witch on the primitive planet of Rhome he wreaks vengeance on the peasants responsible. Next, are the contemptuous sophisticates who rescued him from certain death. They toyed with him for their own amusement and then, uncaring, cast him aside on the metropolitan planet of Joslen.

But first his apprenticeship - as peasant farmer on Pharos, as space mercenary on more planets then you'd care to name. Then independence, as a stellar trader. And at last an opportunity to act as Fate, slowly, and with ironically sophisticated enjoyment, For in the hypnotic jewels of far Shergol lay the seeds of a truly cosmic vengeance.

The story is well-paced, episodic and full of action but bleak. This isn't a Dumarest novel. At least Dumarest had principles and values which precluded being cruel. Leon becomes more ruthless as the novel progresses, and in some ways this is a tale of someone corrupted by violence. Recommended as one of Tubb's best.

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