by Robert Heinlein
Category: Fiction / Fantasy
320 pages; ISBN: 0765312212
Rating: 8/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Tor, Oct 2004, $24.95, 320 pp.
After spending time being shot at in Viet Nam, former soldier E. C. "Scar" Gordon rests and recuperates on the French Riviera. After being shook up by seeing the most beautiful woman he ever seen, Scar answers a strange ad for employment in which some of the perquisite skills are courage, in your early to mid twenties, perfect health, and willingness to travel, etc. Intrigued and needing work, Scar answers the weird ad.
The employer turns out to be the woman from the beach. After struggling with her name Scar calls her Star while she calls him O-scar. The job is to protect her as she searches universes for the Egg of the Phoenix. Oscar accepts the assignment as he has no family that will miss him; the pay is great and a chance to see exotic locations while accompanying a gorgeous woman who claims she is the empress of twenty universes. Of course he figures nothing can be as dangerous as Nam where you do not know friend from foe. Oscar will learn otherwise rather quickly as he travels at unheard of speeds (at least on earth) across dangerous space battling dragons, ogres, and villains oh my.
This is a reprint of an engaging fantasy with some science fiction elements that readers will enjoy. The story line moves faster than Star can traverse the universes. Scar is a wonderful protagonist whose war weary bones perk up for cash and a beautiful princess. Though having a somewhat early 1960s feel to the plot that seems strangely like “ancient ism", fans will enjoy Robert Heinlein’s homage to the masters who influenced his style.
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