A small airless planetoid is set deep in the heart of the Flammarion Rift. Due to its location, it is a minor hub of commerce within the Sashuite Empire, and though it is equipped with elegant dining rooms and casinos, luxury suites and expensive shops, Wu and Fabricant's Guidebook claims that Star Well is a dull place to visit and that travelers should avoid layovers if they can. But Wu and Fabricant had not been shown the secret basements, nor told the nature of the things stored there - if they had been, they might still have advised against layovers, but not because Star Well was dull.
When our hero Anthony Villiers and his Traggish friend Torve arrive on the scene, it soon becomes evident that the truth must out: that Star Well has reached the end of an era.
i read this long ago and liked it and though it's not quite as slam bang as i remembered it still works as a fun little adventure. i've always thought that the title, the roguish Villiers character and the tall furry Torv the Trog, and the fact that there is a sword fight/duel of sorts with "tinglers" were lifted a bit by Lucas for Star Wars. but Panshin is a decent writer and stylistically the writing isn't clunky and simplistic like many other scifi authors (recently Clement audio) and the tongue in cheek tone works. and Rudnicki who sometimes is too enamored with the sound of his deep voice and seems to emphasize it instead of the text here did much better; his style can still be a bit ponderous but it doesn't bother me here and perhaps he'll narrate with more alacrity in future. i will go on with next Villiers and see if the set holds up at all to my memory. and having read Rite of Passage years ago i'll probably try that too soon as it was deservedly lauded. still waiting for Bester's Demolished and Stars and a host of others, but Audible is doing well with this frontiers line.
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