William Dane is a man with a nasty but valuable secret, one that all the cutthroats in the galaxy are itching to get their hands on. Dane must perfect the art of concealing himself from the crazed factions yearning for the power that this secret can give them, otherwise he will die an unspeakable death at their hands. He's a man on the run from the entire galaxy, and he must be constantly vigilant if the key to rule over the universe is not to fall into the wrong hands. This classic science fiction masterpiece satisfies readers' every desire for adventure and intrigue. read more
This first noticeable thing about this book is that it wears its influences heavily. Obviously Asimov's Foundation books have been an important influence since this is set in a decaying galactic empire milieu, but perhaps so too is Alfred Bester. Published in 1955, it is also a work of its times in its treatment of gender (which is not to say its Heinleinesque, just that some of the tropes at work may seem a little shop-worn to the modern-day reader).The story follows Dane an acolyte living in a monastery who one day witnesses a beautiful woman on the run from a bunch of mercenaries. Before she is cut down and carried away she hides something in the Cathedral's donation box which is then recovered by Dane. Needless to say this item places Dane's life in danger and before he knows it he is forced to abandon his cloistered life and on the run for his life in the big bad city, picking up some pretty handy survival skills along the way and slowing learning that he has stumbled into a cat and mouse game the outcome of which might change the universe forever.Its a decent read and there are flashes of more than just an adventure tale. But at least for me they didn't really coalesce into anything very much more significant.read more
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