Seventh and last novel in the series that started with 1965’s “Planetary Agent X.” Earth has colonized three thousand planets. Unknown to almost everyone an alien spaceship was recovered. The pilot was dead. That led to the formation of United Planets. Their credo said they wouldn’t interfere with any of the colonies. Secretly Section G was formed. Their job was to push planets forward to meet any future alien conflict. The main character in most books is agent Ronny Bronston. Some of the book appeared in Analog as “PSI Assassin” and “Fiestas Bravo.” This entry has happenings on three planets:
Falange. It was settled by those that believed in the Falangist Party from 1930’s Spain. Supervisor Li Chang has chosen algae expert Dr. Dorn Horsten and three unlikely candidates. Supervisor Sid Jakes can’t believe who he has to brief on their assignment. They are Pierre Lorans a cordon bleu chef specializing in Iberian cuisine, housewife Martha Lorens and Helen, a midget posing as an eight year old. Pierre’s real specialty is the ability to throw things with pin point accuracy. That means anything from a ball bearing to a knife,even a shovel. Martha has a photographic memory and Helen is a unique gymnast. Horsten puts any circus strongman to shame. United Planets wants the government overthrown. It’s led by a dictator known as the Caudillo. He can only be replaced by the planet’s best matador.
Stalin: It’s based on the Communist regime and rarely allows anyone to land on their planet. They have to stop on an orbiting satellite first so they can be checked out. Derek Lamb is to pose as a Colonel from the planet Lenin. Only Section G knows that the place doesn’t exist. Lamb is a top agent but had to be rescued on his last assignment by Bronston. Lamb’s assignment is to get more information about the secret planet.
Doria:Their dictator El Primero knows too much about Section G. Two different groups of agents were executed or jailed. One group contained Bronston. Since the planet is crucial to the economic development of United Planets, El Primero has to be assassinated. Li Chang chooses Sam Goodboy for the job. He looks anything like an agent. He doesn’t know how to use firearms so Sid can’t figure what use he is. Then Sam says he can think someone dead. He demonstrates on a fern and later a chimp. While Sam is en route to the planet, Li Chang charges into Sid’s office. They heard from Ronny. They have to get Sam back before he completes his mission.
This is fun stuff and a good way to pass a few hours.