Classic space opera adventure, Book #7 in the "Family D'Alembert" series. For centuries, the planet Gastonia has been a planet of exile, an escape-proof prison world for the worst sorts of traitors. But now, it seems, prisoners are indeed escaping, and all evidence points to the sinister, all-knowing conspiracy that continues to shadow the Throne. The d'Alemberts must infiltrate this world of traitors - and they must do it without a safety net, because if they fail they themselves will be trapped on this inhospitable world.
E. E. 'Doc' Smith (1890 - 1965)
Edward Elmer Smith was born in Wisconsin in 1890. He attended the University of Idaho and graduated with degrees in chemical engineering; he went on to attain a PhD in the same subject, and spent his working life as a food engineer. Smith is best known for the 'Skylark' and 'Lensman' series of novels, which are arguably the earliest examples of what a modern audience would recognise as Space Opera. Early novels in both series were serialised in the dominant pulp magazines of the day: Argosy, Amazing Stories, Wonder Stories and a pre-Campbell Astounding, although his most successful works were published under Campbell's editorship. Although he won no major SF awards, Smith was Guest of Honour at the second World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago, in 1940. He died in 1965.