One of the more interesting things about this story is the authors. Childhood friends in the 1950s in Illinois, they went onto different things. One wrote the story that became Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. The other became an archbishop. They got together and wrote a book that would hearken back to the sci-fi space operas they loved as kids. It’s such a neat story, it appears on the back instead of anything of the plot. Probably because it’s the sort of thing that hearkens back to fifties space operas.
The book follows the takedown of the Space Vulture, a criminal genius whose exploits are legendary. Opposing him are the reknowned bounty hunter Victor Corsaire; Gil Terry, a small grifter who was briefly in the custody of Corsaire; Cali, the widowed administrator of a planet raided by Terry and later, more successfully, by the Space Vulture; and Eliot and Regin, Cali’s two plucky young sons who are left behind. In a series of reversals and cliffhangers, the foes gyrate about each other and finally meet for the climactic battle on a slaver planet.
The book walks the line between earnest and campy, staying pretty earnest. The style mimics serials a bit, complete with an ending that indicates another adventure will be available next week. And, with an archbishop co-author, we get prayers and peace in the face of death that you don’t normally see in science fiction, but these are really just flourishes and asides, so religious belief is not core to the story.
Overall, a pleasant reading experience.