A cold war among the stars was growing hotter by the minute. As Pag and Cathrodyne struggled for domination, a hot war threatened which would rend and annihilate whole planetary systems. The two master races would have consumed one another long ago, but for one single factor:
Waystation. It was a stupendous synthetic world, famed throughout this galaxy. For Waystation was controlled by a neutral people, and until the greater powers could seize this strategic wonder planet and ferret out its secrets, they were doomed to fretful inactivity.
But as a Cathrodyne vessel drew near to Waystation, the all-important balance of power stood in sudden peril. The ship in itself was routine. But on board was a stranger, a man of undiscovered race, who spoke too little, and, it appeared, knew too much...
John Brunner (1934-1995) was a prolific British SF writer. In 1951, he published his first novel, Galactic Storm, at the age of just 17, and went on to write dozens of novels under his own and various house names until his death in 1995 at the Glasgow Worldcon. He won the Hugo Award and the British Science Fiction Award for Stand on Zanzibar (a regular contender for the 'best SF novel of all time') and the British Science Fiction Award for The Jagged Orbit.