When empires hung on the turn of a card...
Cheyne Scarne was a gambler - a lucky one. What he didn't know about randomatics wasn't worth knowing. He had brains to get right to the heart of the Grand Wheel - the syndicate that controlled all illegal activity in the planets under human control.
But what Scarne had staked to get that far was chickenfeed compared to what he would risk to get into the real big time - the massive intergalactic combine that dwarfed the empires of mere men.
For Scarne, double-crossing at every deal, had laid his life on the line to win a game where no one knew the value of the cards and the rules changed with every trick!
Barrington J. Bayley (1937-2008) was born in Birmingham and began writing science fiction in his early teens. After serving in the RAF, he took up freelance writing on features, serials and picture strips, mostly in the juvenile field, before returning to straight SF. He was a regular contributor to the influential New Worlds magazine and an early voice in the New Wave movement.