The maritime ubarate of Cos, with her allies, is mounting an attack on Ar on two fronts, from the south with a major invasion force, and in the north with an expeditionary force besieging Ar's Station, Ar's base of power in the vast arable basin of Gor's mightiest river, the Vosk. Dietrich of Tarnburg, a mercenary, has seized Torcodino in the south, with its stores of military supplies, to temporarily halt the march of Cos on Ar, to buy Ar time to organize for her defense. Cabot has delivered letters from Dietrich to the regent of Ar, Gnieus Lelius, apprising him of the city's danger and the situation at Torcodino, and he has, in turn, been entrusted with letters from the regent to be delivered to the besieged Ar's Station. In virtue of treason in Ar, her main forces have been drawn away from the city and are now are wintering at Holmesk. Thus Ar is substantially defenseless and Ar's Station is abandoned. At Ar's Station, Cabot, betrayed by the very missives he conveyed, is arrested as a spy. In the destruction wrought in Ar's Station by siege engines, Cabot escapes his imprisonment. Shall he then flee Ar's Station, making his way to freedom - through its miseries and desolations, its ruins and flames - or shall he remain, to defend, as he can, to the death, if need be, her weakened, betrayed, starving defenders, those who had been his very captors?
This is the first part of two novels, Renegades and Vagabonds. Renegades was not available in audio for a while and I skipped both, having read them years ago, and went on with "Magicians." Once I was caught up with Tarl's adventures in "Mariners," I went back and bought "Renegades" and then listened to them in the right order. I believe the author insisted that they be released unedited and there are some really distasteful Rape comments, (particualarly on in Vagabonds about 15 hours in) that just were not appropriate (my strong opinion) in a work of Fiction. I suspect this is what got him in trouble, cost him his publisher, and ended up in a blacklisting and lecture tour on censorship. I don't think it is Censorship, just editing. This is fiction, and some of the retorical digressions are not even in character. Any editor would have redlined them. I'd have refused to publish Vagabonds with the rape on EARTH passage in it. (It is otherwise a great book.) Just yell "I am quite aware of that..." or "Shut Up!" and ignore these passages. Tarl's journey through Ar's Station, the Vosk Delta, and onward is a turning point in his life and the story is well worth your time. This is a good story and should be read in the right order. Don't go on to Magicians unless you have read this book, and Vagabonds.