Zelos seemed an ideal planet for colonization. Possessing one large continent and numerous archipelagos, it had a climate and vegetation comfortably like that of Earth.
Captain James Conrad and his crew of Expendables started on their initial reconnaissance of the planet. For the first time they found human beings already in residence. But this was a society remote from anything they had ever before experienced. For the Emperor of this strange world controlled his domain through the great annual War Games.
Only the fittest could survive - and only they were allowed to procreate. Through this 'death control' the population was limited to twenty thousand. There was only one way the Expendables could get permission to establish a colony on Zelos. Risking their own lives, they must compete in the dreaded War Games. And, somehow, they must win.
Edmund Cooper (1926 - 1982)
Edmund Cooper was born in Cheshire in 1926. He served in the Merchant navy towards the end of the Second World War and trained as a teacher after its end. He began to publish SF stories in 1951 and produced a considerable amount of short fiction throughout the '50s, moving on, by the end of that decade, to the novels for which he is chiefly remembered. His works displayed perhaps a bleaker view of the future than many of his contemporaries', frequently utilising post-apocalyptic settings. In addition to writing novels, Edmund Cooper reviewed science fiction for the Sunday Times from 1967 until his death in 1982.