By Jack Vance
The target of the venture from Earth: to prevent the ruthless Barjarnum of Beaujolais from increasing his empire at the vast Planet...and hinder the realm from falling lower than this tyrant's domination. Then sabotage forces the craft to crash land, and the survivors face an epic 40,000-mile trek around the harmful panorama. A SF landmark. "One of the best writers the technological know-how fiction box has ever known."--Poul Anderson. "Vividly compelling...Vance on the best of his form."--Damon Knight.
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Look farther down,” said Glystra in a low voice. ” Corbus threw a glance toward the prancing Magickers, peered down under the roof. “Can’t see too well . It’s confused . . Oh—” Glystra turned away. The Magickers were stealthily sliding closer. “Get back! ” he said flatly. ” In a lower voice he said, “I guess it wouldn’t make any difference to you if you’ve all gone through—that. ” But his words were not heard, or if heard, not heeded. Goaded by the frenzied calls of the old women, the Magickers, lips drawn back from their long teeth, were prancing forward, a step at a time.
Pianza searched the face of the river with concern. “I wonder that anyone dares to cross. ” Corbus pointed. ” It was a thin gray-white cable, swooping from the pole in the village to one of the spines of the forest on the opposite shore. The low point at the center was only fifty feet above the surface of the river. Glystra snorted in disgust. “They’ve got the river-crossing sewed up, and so ... ” “That’s how the Magickers acquire their wealth,” said Motta. Cloyville muttered, “They’ll probably make us pay through the nose.
He raised the ion-shine. Abbigens’ face was like risen dough. He began to laugh wildly. “What a joke! ” The violet ray snapped out, power crackled down the conductive channel. Abbigens was dead. Heinzelman appeared faintly bored. “Give me the woman,” said Glystra, “or I’ll bring this same death to you. ” He used the push-button rasp of authority. ” Heinzelman looked up in faint surprise, hesitated, then made a motion to his men. ” Nancy came limping forward, fell shaking and sobbing at Glystra’s knees.