The Star Kings

Edmond Hamilton,

The Star Kings
 
 
The Star Kings is the supreme work by the master of romantic space opera, Edmond Hamilton.

John Gordon, a war vet restless in the humdrum of an office job, is offered a chance for adventure when he is contacted via dreams by Zarth Arn, a scientist-prince living two hundred thousand years in the future, and asked to exchange bodies for a week. Zarth will research the present, while Gordon experiences the galaxy-spanning future of the star-kingdoms - 200,000 years from now. There is only one stipulation: Gordon must give his word that under no circumstances will he reveal his true identity to anyone of Zarth's time. Moments later, John Gordon is hurtled through time to the Earth of two thousand centuries hence - into Zarth Arn's laboratory and body. But before the week is over, warriors from an enemy star kingdom attempt to kidnap Arn, precipitating a galactic crisis, and Gordon is summoned to the throne world of Throon immediately by Zarth Arn's father, ruler of the Mid-Galactic Kingdom. Unable to reveal his identity without breaking his pledge to Zarth Arn, Gordon is forced to play the role of the young star prince. As a result, he finds himself immediately caught in a strange triangle between two women: the intelligent, dynamic Lianna, ruler of the Star-Kingdom of Fomalhaut, whom Zarth's father has ordered him to wed (and with whom Gordon swiftly falls in love), and warm, tender Murn (who Zarth Arn loves).

Galactic civilization is facing its greatest crisis, a war of conquest by Shorr Kan - tyrant of the League of Dark Worlds - and before John Gordon can even orient himself to this far future universe, Zarth Arn's father is assassinated, with Zarth himself framed for the killing. Saved by Lianna, the pair flee on a galaxy-spanning quest for the secret of the Disruptor, the one weapon that can defeat the Dark Worlds and preserve the freedom of the stars. And if they succeed, Gordon knows he must return to his own time, losing Lianna, the woman he loves, forever - or deliberately marooning Zarth Arn 200,000 years in the past, separating him from Murn, the woman he loves, forever.

'... roistering adventure, two beautiful heroines, one of the most likable villains you could ask for ... color and imagery ... a final world-smashing slug-fest ... good fun.'
Analog/Astounding
Cover design: J.L. 'Frankie' Hill



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