Now word has gotten out that Bossy exists, and the masses are terrified. Incited by a controlling government, the public is convinced that Bossy is dangerous. And so the professors and Joe have been indicted and are on the run. All of this is as Joe expected. Though everyone assumes he is just an ordinary graduate student-assistant, Joe is Bossy's real creator. A telepath, Joe can project thoughts as well as receive them. By breaking down the ego-walls that would normally prevent scientific cooperation between departments, Joe orchestrated the Bossy project for his own purpose From his home in Spain he journeys to the markets of Tangiers and across the Egyptian desert to a fateful encounter with the alchemist.
Each year, two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcasted throughout Panem as the 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch.
When year-old Katniss's young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart, Peeta, the son of the town baker who seems to have all the fighting skills of a lump of bread dough, will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives.
British SF Award winner. But his trick depends on a neurotic drunk with psychokinetic powers and a government psychologist who plans a political coup that day. Parker tracks a serial killer from New York City to the American South, and finds his buried instincts -- for love, survival, and, ultimately, for killing -- awakening as he confronts a monster beyond imagining. Touch these things at your own risk, however; unsuspecting souls who handle the disks receive a sting, soon followed by flulike symptoms and ending in a kind of zombie assimilation into the alien consciousness.
And make no mistake: these aliens are up to no good--we know this because the victims of the UFO-flu are soon transformed into hideous reptilian creatures. She wakes up to find she has a daughter, delivered nine months into her coma. Her friends all seem diminished by the passage of time. Her boyfriend laments, "What evidence have we ever given of inner lives?
Before he arrives, he meets with Buliwyf, a powerful Viking chieftain who is summoned by his besieged relatives to the North. Buliwyf must return to Scandanavia and save his countrymen and families from the monsters of the mist Now he's unemployed and is finally starting to enjoy his new role as stay-at-home dad. All would be domestic bliss if it were not for Jack's suspicions that his wife, who's been behaving strangely and working long hours at the top-secret research labs of Xymos Technology, is having an affair.
When he's called in to help with her hush-hush project, it seems like the perfect opportunity to see what his wife's been doing, but Jack quickly finds there's a lot more going on in the lab than an illicit affair. Within hours of his arrival at the remote testing center, Jack discovers his wife's firm has created self-replicating nanotechnology--a literal swarm of microscopic machines.
Originally meant to serve as a military eye in the sky, the swarm has now escaped into the environment and is seemingly intent on killing the scientists trapped in the facility. Xiao Yen takes paper, folds it into the shape of an animal or thing, then does magic so the paper becomes the thing she's folded. And now she's lost her luck. He encounters a bureaucrat whom he remembers as a brutal SS officer in a former life. Bent on vengeance, Aspic develops the psychotron, a soul recyling machine and pursues him through several incarnations.
The rest is a virtual cross-section of the work of one of the field's geniuses. The Samuel of "One Morning with Samuel, Dorothy, and William" is none other than Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and we see what really happened when that unexpected visitor from Porlock interrupted the composition of "Kubla Khan. But the Michaelsons, a family of interstellar traders, had to hire another crew member or lose the ship that was their livelihood.
So they took Lukas on temporarily, assuming that he was a good pilot with a bad attitude. But Lukas's problem was much deeper: as a pilot in the Space Corps, he had stumbled upon a secret a powerful Corps faction would do anything to hide. His mind had been invaded and his memories rewritten, but the process had damaged him, perhaps beyond repair.
Now he was tortured to the edge of endurance by the return of memories meant to be blocked forever. It's a place where magic lights dark streets, where myths walk clothed in modern shapes, where a broad cast of extraordinary and affecting people work to keep the whole world turning. At the center of all the entwined lives of Newford stands a young artist named Jilly Coppercorn, with her tangled hair, her paint-splattered jeans, a smile perpetually on her lips--Jilly whose paintings capture the hidden beings that dwell in the city's shadows.
Behind the painter's fey charm there s a dark secret, and a past she s laboured to forget. That past is coming to claim her now, threatening all she loves. At the same time, Devlin takes over Trader's body. Devlin starts cutting a swathe through the money, women and liquor in Trader's circle, while Trader has to struggle for survival on the mean streets while trying to figure out what happened to him and what he can do about it.
This quest takes him into what is in, in effect, a marvelously wrought land of Faerie. Learning it turns one into an unwilling traitor as it alters perception and thought. The change is made more dangerous by the language's seductive enhancement of other abilities. This is discovered by the beautiful starship captain, linguist, poet, and telepath Rydra Wong. She is recruited by her government to discover how the enemy are infiltrating and sabotaging strategic sites.
Initially Babel is thought to be a code used by enemy agents. Rydra Wong realizes it is a language, and finds herself becoming a traitor as she learns it. Nebula award winner. By the time the spaceship has arrived at the destination star system, the descendants are incapable and uninterested in settling the system's planets, and continue to live in the spaceship as an obscure backwater culture isolated from broader human history.
The deeper tale concerns, however, the way those who are "different" must deal with the dominant cultural ideology. The tale follows Lobey's mythic quest for his lost love, Friza. In luminous and hallucinated language, it explores what new myths might emerge from the detritus of the human world as those who are "different" try to seize history and the day.
Nebula winner. Violence and strong language. Pulitzer Prize. People live in half-deserted apartment buildings, and keep electric animals as pets because so many real animals have died. Now only the rich can afford living creatures. By , the Terminus War had driven most humans off-planet and entire species into extinction. Most people emigrate to Mars - unless they have a job to do on Earth - or are substandard health and deemed inferior.
This week he has to find, identify, and kill six androids which have escaped from an off world colony. They're machines, but they look and sound and think like humans - clever, dangerous humans. They will be hard to kill.
These artificials are near impossible to tell them from the truly living; except for their lack of empathy. It's Rick Deckard's job to find these rogues and "retire" them. But "andys" tend to fight back; with deadly results. Filmed as "Bladerunner". They awaken in a world of Old Testament morality gone awry--a perilous hilarious realm of plagues and damnation. Together they must find a way home. Some violence. For although the UN has slated "anomalous" children for deportation and destruction, other people--especially Supreme Goodmember Arnie Kott of the Water Worker's union--suspect that Manfred's disorder may be a window into the future.
Among the topics discussed were details of Dick's writing process, his thoughts on Blade Runner which he never got to see as a finished film , and preliminary plot and background information about the novel he was writing, The Owl in Daylight.
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Dick's fans will enjoy seeing how he formulated his ideas and reading about his never-finished novel. DICK [ESSAYS] pp [Catherine] In a collection of philosophical essays, journal excerpts, speeches, and interviews, the pioneering science fiction writer discusses the union of physics and metaphysics, the impact of virtual reality, and the challenges of basic human values in an age of technology and spiritual decline.
But Bakhalla has more battlefields than libraries, and Graeme sees his small force of Dorsai--soldiers of fortune--as the perfect opportunity to test his theories. But if his theories or his belief in the Dorsai lead him astray, he's a dead man. Included in the omnibus Three To Dorsai! Daniel Weintreib dreams of flight through music. His wife suceeds in the attempt on their honeymoon, leaving him earthbound in a decadent, grotesque New York City, desperately searching for a way to fly.
Our hero has gone to Disneyland--his habit at times of major personal crisis--where he works for the ad-hocracy that runs the Haunted Mansion and the Hall of Presidents. It is a great honor to be working on the pinnacle of late-twentieth-century cultural and artistic achievement--Disneyland, that would be--and it inspires great loyalty. Our man begins feeling the pressure of change, however, after a cookie-cutter teenybopper shoots him dead for apparently no reason at all. Convinced that a new ad-hocracy on the block used his death to take over the Hall of Presidents, he vows to sabotage their plans and protect the sanctity of the Haunted Mansion.
Thus begins a cycle of destruction and conflict with unexpected ramifications for the park--and his personal life. Yet he was tempted to believe, to fight for the Land, to be the reincarnation of its greatest hero. Thirty years later, he begins to suspect that he was never meant to survive that accident, and that dark forces are working to rectify that mistake.
When Hilton's wife, the only elected African-American judge in Dade County, FL, begins to receive racist hate mail, he becomes obsessed with protecting his family. Soon, however, he begins to have horrible nightmares, more intense and disturbing than any he has ever experienced. Are the strange dreams trying to tell him something? The former is supplied by Honey Pilar, sex goddess of "Slow, Slow Burn," whose super-provocative moddies are shared, with or without partners, by millions. In "Mared Throws a Party," the projected opening of Word of Night, a fourth Budayeen novel, Mared is disconcerted when his adoptive grandfather, the powerful Friedlander Bey, announces he's giving him the unwelcome gift of a new set of implants.
In "King of the Cyber Rifles," these implants are used for war purposes. Technology tends to play a smaller role in Effinger's finest shorter works, such as Nebula and Hugo winner "Schrodinger's Kitten," a story of multiple worlds, and "The City on the Sand," set in the Budayeen but flavored with European weltschmerz. Seyt remains at Home, chronicling his older brother's adventures by simply making them up, chapter by chapter, even as he deals with his many siblings -- particularly the smarmy, detestable Tere.
And he keeps us informed of each new chapter's reception by his Family, and the resulting political dynamic, always in flux. You are going to live forever. Immortality is a reality. A medical miracle? Not exactly. The bad news is that you are a scrap of electronic code. The world you see around you, the you that is seeing it, has been digitized, scanned, and downloaded into a virtual reality program. You are a Copy that knows it is a copy. The good news is that there is a way out.
By law, every Copy has the option of terminating itself, and waking up to normal flesh-and-blood life again. The bail-out is on the utilities menu. You pull it down The bad news is that it doesn't work. Someone has blocked the bail-out option. And you know who did it. You did. The other you. The real you. The one that wants to keep you here forever.
As it spreads throughout the galaxy, humanity enjoys an almost utopian existence--until a scientist accidentally creates an impenetrable, steadily expanding vacuum that devours star systems and threatens the entire universe with destruction. Tchicaya is a Yielder, member of the faction that believes this "novo-vacuum" deserves study. The opposing Preservationists--among them Mariama, his first love--seek to save worlds and destroy the novo-vacuum. Discord heats to terrorist violence; then enmities and alliances are turned upside-down by a discovery that may mean the novo-vacuum is, instead, a new and very different universe--and one which may contain life.
These are vital, meaningful stories which probably could not have been published in the SF magazines-not because of their daring ideas, but because of their literary quality. Urban Indians of mixed blood, they are "scattered like beads off a necklace and put back together in new patterns, new strings," and Erdrich follows them through two failed marriages, a "kamikaze" wedding, and several tragic deaths. But the plot also loops and circles back, drawing in a year-old murder, a burned Ojibwa village, a lost baby, several dead twins, and another baby nursed on father's milk.
And not a moment too soon; not only is Azucena terribly lonely, but she has finally paid off all the karmic debts accumulated in her 14, past lives. Alas for her, Rodrigo is not as karmically pure, and the day after their night of bliss, he is framed for murder and deported to the penal planet of Korma. As it turns out, this is all part of a divine plan: Azucena's quest to be reunited with her lover sets in motion a chain of events that will lead to the restoration of the law of Love on planet Earth.
Complete edition includes paintings and a cd of opera arias. They already control great areas of the world and now it's 20th-century Britain's turn to submit to Aztec rule. This story of war, politics, intrigue and romance is narrated by a daughter of the British monarch. It is capable of alaraf drive: instantaneous travel between two points of space. Three of these special ships were built to explore and make contact with the many sentient races inhabiting the universe.
Suddenly, one of the ships mysteriously disappears. And then it is discovered that an unidentifiable "creature" is marauding through the universe, totally annihilating intelligent life on planet after planet. Ranstan, a thoughtful and moral man, becomes a fascinated yet reluctant pawn in the hands of the strange forces which arise to fight the deadly destroyer.
Though only women were judged fit for space, Earth's Central Computer had for some reason placed a man among them For Language Specialist Gia Kennedy, the answer lay in the baffling rituals of the planet's primitive natives -- an answer that hovered just out of reach. There, in the heart of an alien wilderness, Gia would defy her culture and discover an ancient truth.
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LAO pp [Ralph] A supernatural circus comes to town. Made into the movie "7 Faces Of Dr. Magician: an exotic saga of the travels of the Magician, a lost Queen of remarkable talents, and their very odd companions, in search of a far land where magic may still live. Most of the narrative focuses on the consequences of the discovery in the 14th century by Eifelheim's pastor, Father Dietrich, of a crashed space ship carrying the "Krenken," horrific grasshopperlike aliens.
Despite Inquisitorial threats, Dietrich befriends, baptizes and attempts to help the aliens return home. The miners of the town, while delving for blue spire--a coal-like mineral that eventually turns the miners into blue statues--have discovered in a cavern the living mummy of a strange being, the Traveler, holding a perfect white fruit now missing that Below believes will confer immortality.
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Cley pronounces the guilt or innocence of the townsfolk by studying their physiognomies, but he becomes distracted by the beautiful and knowledgeable Arla, whose father Cley suspects of having stolen the fruit. But this is a changed world, and medieval Europe is dominated by the threat from the Byzantine Empire.
Sforza, the Vampire Duke, marshals his forces for his long-planned attack on Florence, and Byzantium is on the march. A mercenary, the exiled heir to the Byzantine throne, a young woman physician forced to flee Florence, and a Welsh wizard, the nephew of Owain Gly Dwr, seem to have no common goals but together they wage an intrigue-filled campaign against the might of Byzantium, striving to secure the English throne for Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and make him Richard III.
Each individual now lives in isolation below ground in a standard 'cell', with all bodily and spiritual needs met by the omnipotent, global Machine. The two main characters, Vashti and her son Kuno, live on opposite sides of the world. Vashti is content with her life, which, like most inhabitants of the world, she spends producing and endlessly discussing secondhand 'ideas'. Kuno, however, is a sensualist and a rebel. He persuades a reluctant Vashti to endure the journey and the resultant unwelcome personal interaction to his cell.
Possibly included in The Collected Tales , available in Braille. Included in the anthology Science Fiction Classics ed. Tom Pomplun. Fleeing from the consequences, he makes for England, on the way picking up two companions - Dariole, a young girl and a ship-wrecked 'demon'. Rochefort is blackmailed into arranging the death of King James at the performance of a Hermetic magic play. Meanwhile, Dariole is busy making forays into Shakespeare's theatre as England's first and worst female actor How much of the future will depend on what he does?
She is Ash. In unflinching prose, Gentle describes the child's treatment in a men's camp, then the teenager's hard lessons in the art and craft of war, and finally the young woman's rise to command a mercenary army. Ash, it seems, is not only strong and fast but has the advantage of hearing a voice that instructs her on troop deployment. To the well-versed SF reader, the voice begins to sound suspiciously like a tactical computer. Just as the reader gets ready to reassign the book to time travel SF, Gentle inserts--in what are purported to be excerpts from a 21st-century scholar's e-mail conversation with his publisher--hints that perhaps the novel belongs in the alternate history category.
By now Ash and her army are embroiled in war and politics up to their fluted breastplates, and if swords and poleaxes were not enough, she now faces golems and the Carthaginian army. In London, she stays in the trendy digs of documentary filmmaker friend Damien away on assignment , whom she e-mails frequently.
When Cayce brusquely rejects the new logo of advertising mogul Hubertus Bigend, she earns his respect and a big check but makes an enemy of his graphic designer, vindictive Dorotea Benedetti. Hubertus later hires Cayce to ferret out the origin of a series of sensual film clips appearing guerrilla style on computers all over the world and attracting a growing cult following. Cayce treats this as a standard job until somebody breaks into Damien's flat and hacks into her computer. Suddenly every casual encounter carries undertones of danger.
Her investigative trail takes her to Tokyo and Russia and through a rogue's gallery of iconoclastic Web-heads. The protagonist is Luciana, duchessa di Drago, who discovers that her beloved sister, Alessandra, has been murdered, and the corpse stolen. If the body is not recovered, its theft will turn Alessandra's spirit into a demon, because the sisters are Rom Gypsy , and that is what happens in this alternate world. Luciana sets out through a maze of court intrigues--in which daggers and spells await her at every turn--aided only by her wits and her sister-in-law, the queen.
Author William Goldman takes us inside of Corky's head as he valiantly tries to keep his sanity from withering away completely. He escapes to his past, returning to his childhood home and searching out his teenage crush Peggy Ann Snow, now a grown woman in a troubled and rapidly dissolving marriage. In an isolated cabin rental, Corky makes his tragic last stand. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men.
Peter Ryman, the first presidential candidate to come of age since social media saved the world from a virus that reanimates the dead, invites them to cover his campaign. Then an event is attacked by zombies, and Ryman's daughter is killed. As the bloggers wield the newfound power of new media, they tangle with the CDC, a scheming vice presidential candidate, and mysterious conspirators who want more than the Oval Office. Riches don't bring happiness, though, and the van de Oest family hides its share of dark secrets.
Books for Readers # 157
Lore is kidnapped, but escapes from her captors when she realizes her family isn't going to pay the ransom. Naked, alone, and wounded, she is saved by the brutally street-smart Spanner, who teaches Lore to survive by exploiting the Net and human weaknesses. To learn to trust, though, Lore must face her demons, one by one, until she can begin again.
An attempt on the emir's life by means of a venomous snake forces Bey to probe his own parentage in order to identify the motives and the conspirators behind the attack. Bey's independent and spirited young niece, Hani, has a welcome expanded role as she tries to follow her uncle's trail. Each dies in only to awaken as a teenager in with adult knowledge and wisdom intact and the ability to make a new set of choices.
Different spouses, lovers, children, careers, await them in each go-round of the past 25 years, as well as slightly altered versions of world events. Their deep commitment to one another continues through the centuries of their many lifetimes. Though he's been out of commission for a while, Doctor Impossible hatches a scheme to knock the planet out of orbit "As the Earth grows colder, my power becomes apparent, and the nations submit," he reasons.
Meanwhile, Champions leader Corefire goes missing, and Fatale has to learn the ropes of superherodom as the conventional climactic showdown at Doctor Impossible's secret lair draws near. However fantastical, the characters including a "genetic metahuman" and "an elite fairy guard" are thoughtfully portrayed, with Fatale—stuck in a perpetual existential crisis—bemused over the Champions' purpose, and Doctor Impossible wondering "whether the smartest man in the world has done the smartest thing he could with his life.
The Changeling has survived by adapting the forms of many different organisms. The Chameleon destroys anything or anyone that threatens it. Now, a sunken relic that holds the key to their origins calls to them to take them home—but the Chameleon has decided there's only room for one.
A crowded and poisoned Earth is moving toward the brink of the last world war—and is certainly unprepared to face invasion of any kind. And so the world waits. Black physics professor and linked draftee Julian Class; his white mentor and lover, Dr. Amelia Harding; and her colleague Peter discover that the high-profile Jupiter Project is about to re-create the Big Bang that will destroy the solar system.
The original 20 survivors of an experiment to link brains via implanted jacks discover they can turn people into pacifists by linking them for two weeks. Together with Julian and Amelia, the group stays one jump ahead of assassins as they try to stop the project and pacify key figures. At once a hard science, military, and political thriller, this book presents a thoughtful and hopeful solution to ending war in the 21st century.
Then she accidentally discovers real Martians living in an underground city and has to convince Solingen that her story is true. When the Martians reveal a terrible threat to life on Earth, it's up to Carmen and her friends to save the day. In return for the promise of the King to send help to the Winterlands, Aversin agreed to attempt the nearly impossible feat again. With them, to guard them on the haunted trip south, went Jenny Waynest, a half-taught sorceress and mother of Aversin's sons. But at the decadent Court, nothing was as expected.
Rebellion threatened the land. Zyerne, a sorceress of seemingly unlimited power, held the King under an evil spell, and he refused to see them. Meantime, the dragon fed well on the knights who had challenged him. In the end, Aversin, Jenny, and Gareth had to steal away at night to challenge Morkeleb, largest and wisest of dragons. But that was only the beginning of the perils they must face.
Now the couple must save the Winterlands from the menace of yet another dragon - but the real threat turns out to be worse. Demons from another plane of existence, who prey on the magic and souls of both wizards and dragons, take Jenny and John's mageborn son, year-old Ian, captive. John must turn for help to the powerful Morkeleb, a dragon who loved Jenny and once gave her a dragon's body, magic and immortality - though he later returned her to mortal form when she chose to be with John. All three suffer and sacrifice as they make dark bargains to defeat their formidable foes.
In Winterlands, Jenny Waynest pays a heavy price for choosing to be human, mourning the loss of her husband, Lord John, and the dangers that engulf her family. But in a season of the Dragon Star, strange miracles are about to transpire. As a pitched battle between the Hellspawn and the human rages, Jenny and John will be reunited in a city under siege. And there, they will have one last chance to understand all that has happened to them and why, who their true enemies and true allies are, and most of all, for what magical purpose each has been chosen.
After being possessed and corrupted by the demon Amayon, she lost everything she holds dear--even the trust of her husband. Yet Lord John Aversin has torments of his own: memories of the beautiful and cruel Aohila, demon queen of a rival hell, whom he'd tricked into providing the help he needed to free Jenny. Now, condemned to death for trafficking with demons, John cannot forgive himself for opening the door to a far greater evil--an evil that still haunts his dreams. And not only his dreams. For a vengeful Aohila needs mortal aid in realms beyond her power, and who better to provide it than Lord John?
Blackmailed into cooperating, John must fight his way through unimaginable horrors in quest of a prize that may doom the world he has left behind. The wells are running dry, and the Sun Mages have been unable to call the rains. Frustrated Mages across the land can no longer work the magic that once ran their empire. Now the magic lies solely in the hands of a few women--the first ever to have developed magical powers.
But suddenly, something was twisting her magic, weaving sinister portents of doom into even the simplest of her spells. Then she knew for certain that her young sister Alix was soon to marry--and soon to die. And so she journeyed back to the family who had disowned her. To save her sister, Kyra would have to face down her father's rage, stand firm against the venomous rivalries of her family's enemies, and confront the Inquisition.
Then she must defeat a still deadlier foe--if only she could find it! If she does not oblige, his young wife, Lydia, will perish as have many other vampire victims over the years. Accompanied by one of the oldest of the vampires, Simon Ysidro, who has lived in London since the time of Elizabeth I, Asher begins his investigations, learning about the life and culture of vampires. They preyed where they willed, for no mortal humans could resist their unclean powers.
But now came the ultimate perversion, the unthinkable: someone was conscripting the vampires into the secret services of a foreign power. No government agency or bureaucrat could control the Undead. The idea was absurd, as Dr. James Asher knew all too well. Years in His Majesty's service had taught Asher the finer points of espionage. And he knew the secrets of the vampires--a familiarity hard-won in unwilling service to Don Simon Ysidro, oldest and most subtle of the hunters of the London night. What Asher didn't know was why one of England's established vampires would risk everything to travel across the European continent at the behest of a ruthless spymaster.
But he could see the terrifying potential of such an unholy alliance The species has even encountered aliens and space-faring artifacts. One remaining mystery is the barrier around stars known as the Dyson Pair. Human curiosity still being what it is, a spaceship capable of faster-than-light travel thanks to those wormholes again goes to investigate. When what's behind the barrier is discovered, the thrill-ride really starts.
Aliens formerly trapped inside it, fighting over limited resources, are freed to invade human space. Once thought to be an enormous black hole, the Void, which supposedly contains an entire micro-universe inside an impenetrable event horizon, slowly devours stars to sustain itself. If left unchecked, it will eventually consume the entire galaxy.
When the technologically augmented telepath Inigo begins experiencing revelatory dreams, his shared visions ignite a mass pilgrimage to the Void, which some believe will trigger the apocalypse. A greater threat lurks within Lalonde's intensely claustrophobic jungle: an energy virus that turns people into zombies and that even 27th-century biotechnology can't cure. But that's changing. An ancient military android, dubbed Metatron, has fomented a rebellion of the geneslaves. The Aviator 'Imperator' Margalis Tast'annin, who died at the end of Hand's Winterlong but is now resurrected in a cyborg body, pursues Metatron.
Meanwhile, other characters from Winterlong end up among the rebels. In all the confusion, warnings about the asteroid have gone unnoticed save by Metatron, who sees the coming cataclysm as the final blow against the Masters. Warring kings rule over the British Isles, but the Church rules over the kings, threatening all who oppose them with damnation. Only the dreaded Vikings of Scandinavia do not fear the priests. Shef, the bastard son of a Norse raider and a captive English lady, is torn by divided loyalties and driven by strange visions that seem to come from Odin himself.
A smith and warrior, he alone dares to imagine new weapons and tactics with which to carve out a kingdom--and launch an all-out war between The Hammer and the Cross. He can con humans, aliens and any number of robots time after time. Jim is so slippery that all the inter-galactic cops can do is make him one of their own. He has discovered that Bibs, a crew girl from Captain Garth's ship, is also a prisoner. Jim holds Garth responsible for the Bishop's death, and plans to hunt him down, with Bibs' help.
Garth is really the crazed Captain Zennor, head of an army which continually defies League peace treaties, and now plans to invade and conquer the planet Chojecki. The people of Chojecki are pacifists, having no armies and no police. But Garth's generals decide to attack anyway, since there are no medals for "generals who bring back the troops intact". Jim must save the people of Chojecki before he can face Garth. Determined to get his wife back, diGriz takes on the Temple. He thinks he's ready for anything, but he never expects to find himself banished to Hell, complete with pointy-tailed devils.
The book opens with Jim bungling a bank job so that he can be arrested and sent to prison, where he plans to learn the art of being a master criminal. Deciding that the Bishop should be his mentor, Jim sets about proving himself worthy of the master's attention. Following some free time in Siena, you will be driven back to Florence.
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