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Beloved Son told how the world was given atomic power and chose the atom bomb, was given the key to genetic miracles and chose biological warfare.

The world was lucky the first time; enough of it remained for salvaging in a few decades. It was simply unfortunate that in those difficult years a new menace arose-the offer of dreams-come-true in this world, here and now. There was a price of course. What World Council could not realize-and did not properly query-was the immensity of the price, but the offer was one nobody in his right mind could refuse. Or could he?

Psychiatrist James Lindley recognized the danger of dealing with the Devil but fanatical Police Controller Parker saw it as the Gift of God; Angus, whose name and face changed as often as his coat, saw it as a fine game to be played, while Commissioner Ferendija saw it as an exercise in pragmatism-and Security Tech Sanders lost everything he believed in as the welter of guilt and disillusionment swallowed him whole.

Under the pressure of decision the cracks showed in the highest echelons of the proud Ethical Culture. Is there a benefit so great that, if the price were the end of homo sapiens, we would pay it?

George Turner's Beloved Son was the first volume in what is now recognized as on of the outstanding science fiction achievements of the past decade. Vaneglory is its successor; and, though completely self-contained, it develops with gripping imaginative brilliance the characters and situations already established in Beloved Son.

In a distant future, on an Earth populated by a scant few hundred thousand humans, the Atkins's Thomas performs without question the duties for which he was genetically bred. Called "Soldier" by one and all, he is a man of honor and ability, responsible for keeping the peace, for maintaining the status quo . . . and, most important, for guarding the great Book House on the hill - a vast repository of Last Culture knowledge presided over by Libary, Soldier's mentor, the most senior of the mystic Celibate scholars.

Such is Thomas's life in the serene, semi-primitive world without nations and cities and governments - until the night the starship comes home. Having fled a dangerously overcrowded Earth years before the Collapse and the Twilight that followed, for seven centuries the men and women of the space-going vessel Search have been combing the galaxy for inhabitable planets - their aging processes dramatically slowed by the relative magic of light speed travel and cryogenic sleep. And now, lonely and frustrated, the weary voyagers have returned to a homeworld unrecognizably altered by the relentless tides of time - a world that does not want them back.

A bitter welcome awaits the Searchers, as old Libary gathers Earth's Ordinands and Elders together to tap the terrifying power of the collective unconscious - in preparation of the Carnival night when they will sweep the helpless intruders back to their lonely sky in the name of Holy Science. And it is Soldier who stands in the middle, silent and alone - bound by duty to evict the homesick star-travelers . . . yet cursed by a preordained genetic destiny that has decreed their eviction will mean Soldier's death.

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