Three unlikely heroes fight to save their planet from a deadly plague in this thrilling space opera set in Jo Clayton’s beloved Diadem universe.
No one on the barbarian planet Jaydugar knows where the hypnotically beautiful Ranga Eye gems came from, but everyone who encounters them pays a terrible price. These magic alien crystals, so smooth and pleasing to the touch, provide the holder with an extraordinary sense of peace and joy, causing them to see and experience wondrous, enchanting things. But the need for the visions the Ranga Eye provides quickly becomes an addiction that eats away at the soul and ultimately leads to a horrible, drawn-out death.
An exquisite embroiderer, Gleia has pined for independence and true purpose throughout her life of servitude. She finds both when she manages to buy her freedom and sets out to locate and obliterate the sparkling, druglike scourge that ripped a devastating hole in her personal world.
On a quest fraught with peril across a treacherous landscape of slavers, brigands, and mercenary aliens, Gleia’s path will intertwine with those of the enigmatic, long-lived juggler Shounach—a perplexing, often infuriating rogue born off-world three centuries earlier to intergalactic adventurer Aleytys—and young Deel the Dancer, both of whom have suffered tragic, life-altering loss as a result of the terrible, beautiful jewels.
Now the fate of the entire planet depends upon three unlikely champions locating the source of the sparkling plague and destroying the gems forever. But in a world of uncertainty and ever-present danger will they even survive to reach their journey’s end, and once there, can they resist the irresistible fatal seduction of the deadly Ranga Eyes?
Accomplished world-builder Jo Clayton returns to the galaxy she so brilliantly brought to life in her sensational Diadem Saga, once again seamlessly blending science fiction and high fantasy in an epic, thrill-packed quest adventure that confirms her position among C. J. Cherryh, Alan Dean Foster, Andre Norton, and other speculative fiction greats.
About the author
Jo Clayton (1939–1998) was the author of thirty-five published novels and numerous short stories in the fantasy and science fiction genres. She was best known for the Diadem Saga, in which an alien artifact becomes part of a person’s mind. She also wrote the Skeen Trilogy, the Duel of Sorcery series, and many more. Jo Clayton’s writing is marked by complex, beautifully realized societies set in exotic worlds and stories inhabited by compelling heroines. Her illness and death from multiple myeloma galvanized her local Oregon fan community and science fiction writers and readers nationwide to found the Clayton Memorial Medical Fund.
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