Now I remember where I got these books; I bought them at Patten Books for a couple dollars each after I discovered how well they sold on eBay. Unfortunately, I would also later discover that the books available in bookstores tended toward the later, less salable editions. In a final stroke of ill luck, I started reading the ones I couldn’t sell and found they were okay. So now I go into bookstores looking to buy them and might, someday, float ludicrous sums of money to buy back the very books I once bought for fifty cents and sold at great profit.
But I digress. This, the fifth book in the series, finds Tarl Cabot disguised as an assassin hunting someone who wanted to kill him in his rebuilding home city of Ko-Ro-Ba. He travels to Ar and enters the employ of a slaver to find out what he can about his adversaries. In the course of having his vengeance, he aids a plot to overthrow the leaders of that city.
Again, the main character is strong, assertive, and still a pawn of things he only half-understands. The book continues some of the serial story alluding to a bigger payoff and bigger plots to come in the series.
I remembered where I got these books because I returned to Patten Books to fill in the gaps in my set. I picked up 1, 2, 6, 7, and 10, which means I now only lack 9 of the first 10. Although Patten had a number of the later books, I held off on spending the sums to which I alluded (over $20 for at least one of the paperbacks) until I get a better sense of whether I’ll enjoy the books that late in the series. The earlier books remained in print for a long time, making them cheap and plentiful, whereas the later books are expensive because they had fewer printings. Whether this is due to quality drop-off or the backlash against the books that arose in the 1980s, I’m unsure, but I’m certainly not spending good liquor money on those books yet.
But all signs indicate that I’ll buy 11 sometime in the next year or so.