Copyright 1967 by
I first read this in 1969 and most recently in February 2001.
The nuclear apocalypse ruined the Earth. Those who survived the
fled the destruction and took refuge on other planets, working for the
alien Vegans. On the planet Taler, the government-in-exile tried to sell
off Earth's remaining assets. Though that was thwarted, Earth remains in
ruins and few people still remain.
Konrad Nomikos runs "Arts, Monuments and Archives" the agency responsible
for managing the remains of Earth. It's a comfortable life, he works
very little and he's just got married.
But now an important Vegan is coming to view the planet and perhaps
this time the Earth may be parcelled up and sold off. And worse,
Konrad is expected to help this along.
But Konrad is not all he seems. He was once Konstantin Karaghiosis who
led the revolution against the government-in-exile. He's clearly older
than he looks, immensely older. He is perhaps an elemental force.
Amongst the bizarre creatures in the radioactive hot-spots of ruined
Greece, he has decide how best to save Mother Earth.
Classic SF. I treasure my old Panther edition, with its brown
pages and moldy smell. I trust it will last another thirty
years because I will of course keep rereading this book. Read the novel
and feel the weight of thousands of years surround you.
So what's it got? Aging heroes called out of their dotage to struggle
once more; great adventures and the hint of something magical
beyond science. And also, humour, beautiful women, mysterious aliens and
classic Zelazny dialog.
It doesn't have the power of "Lord Of Light", but this book, along
with his other early works such as "Isle of the Dead" and "To Die In
Italbar", just has to be read.
Loaded on the 24th February 2001.