Readers will remember Cargo-master-apprentice Dane Thornson and his ill-fated ship, the Solar Queen, with its motley crew, from Sargasso of Space. Now the Solar Queen is on the look out for new business, and buys the right to trade on Sargol, a planet rich in exotic gems and valuable oils, inhabited by a sly feline people. But their most ruthless competitor, Inter-Solar, has arrived there before them. The Solar Queen’s try to play fair, but it is only after take-off that the space-trader’s most desperate hours begin. The crew are struck down by a deadly, unknown disease; as a “Plague Ship” they are not permitted to land anywhere, and other ships have orders that they are to be destroyed on sight. With this thrilling space story, Andre Norton justifies her position as one of the top writers of science fiction for young people.
Dane Thorson, Cargo–master–apprentice of the Solar Queen, Galactic Free Trader spacer, Terra registry, stood in the middle of the ship’s cramped bather while Rip Shannon, assistant Astrogator and his senior in the Service of Trade by some four years, applied gobs of highly scented paste to the skin between Dane’s rather prominent shoulder blades. The small cabin was thickly redolent with spicy odors and Rip sniffed appreciatively.
“You’re sure going to be about the best smelling Terran who ever set boot on Sargol’s soil,” his soft slur of speech ended in a rich chuckle.
Dane snorted and tried to estimate progress over one shoulder.
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