by Leigh Brackett, with an introduction by Ben Bova
Beware the Dark Man!
When Eric John Stark’s foster father Simon Ashton goes missing on the barbaric planet of Skaith, the hard-bitten mercenary journeys to the
dying world intent on bringing him back, even if it means taking on an entire civilization single-handed. Once there, however, he finds himself at the center of a mysterious prophecy about the Dark Man from another world, a symbol of hope to an oppressed people seeking freedom in the stars. Accompanied by a small band of heroes, including a beautiful prophetess, Stark must brave sadistic mobs, slavers, telepathic hounds, cannibalistic wizards, and the genetically altered remnants of the planet’s former civilization before finally confronting the malicious Lords Protector in their citadel at Worldheart. But will he arrive in time to save Ashton?
Talented enough to co-write The Big Sleep with William Faulkner and imaginative enough to pen the original screenplay for The Empire Strikes Back, Brackett never fails to deliver breathtaking worlds and fantastic adventure.
“We feel for Eric John Stark. We want him to succeed, to win against the forces of evil... When Stark bleeds, we bleed. When he feels pain or cold, we feel it too. The dangers he faces are our dangers, and his ultimate triumph is our own.” —Ben Bova, award-winning author of Mars
200-page softcover trade paperback
About the Author
Though Leigh Douglass Brackett (1915–1978) was one of the most prominent science fiction authors of her time, she was equally adept in both crime fiction and westerns. While many of her early stories, beginning with "Martian Quest" in 1940, were science fantasy with a strong adventure theme, her first novel, "No Good From a Corpse"(1944), was a hard-boiled detective mystery that so impressed director Howard Hawks that he had his staff call in "this guy Brackett" to help William Faulkner write the script for The Big Sleep. The film, starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, is considered a shining example of film noir, and launched Brackett's scriptwriting career, which would go on to include such notable pictures as Rio Bravo, The Long Goodbye, and the first draft of The Empire Strikes Back, which was written shortly before her death and later revised significantly. During this time, however, she maintained her status as a pulp science fiction icon, writing numerous stories and occasionally collaborating with protégé Ray Bradbury or husband Edmond Hamilton. It was during this busy period that she created her most famous character, criminal and wild-man Eric John Stark, an anti-hero who allowed her to explore colonialism's affect on native cultures, a theme that pervades much of her work. Despite her death from cancer in 1978, Brackett's works live on today as some of the most important in the genre.
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