Return of Santiago

Return of Santiago

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Overview

They say his father was a comet and his mother a cosmic wind, that he juggled planets as if they were feathers and wrestled with black holes just to work up an appetite. They say he never slept, that his eyes burned brighter than a nova, that his shout could level mountains. That he killed a thousand men, and saved a hundred worlds.

They called him Santiago.

Bandit, assassin, rebel, thief, he strode across the galactic rim, blazing a legend as rich and wild as the Inner Frontier itself. Then, at the height of his glory, he vanished, leaving behind a trail as elusive as starlight in the empty realms of space.

Now, a century later, the name of Santiago is once again whispered along the Galactic Rim ...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780765341464
Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
Publication date: 04/01/2004
Series: Santiago Series
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 448
Product dimensions: 4.24(w) x 6.80(h) x 1.19(d)

About the Author

A decade ago, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author Mike Resnick captivated the imaginations of a generation of readers with his star-spanning saga Santiago, an epic tale of a daring outlaw and rebel whose life had become legend. The novel won high praise from readers and critics alike and was hailed as a modern masterwork of science fiction adventure. Now, at last, Resnick offers a new chapter in this spellbinding saga with The Return of Santiago.

Read an Excerpt

1

SOME SAY THAT HE'S A HUNDRED,

SOME SAY THAT HE IS MORE;

SOME SAY HE'll LIVE FOREVER -

THIS OUTLAW COMMODORE!

THAT WAS THE LAST VERSE ever written by Black Orpheus, the Bard of the Inner Frontier. Though Santiago's name doesn't appear in it, it is generally considered to have been about the notorious King of the Outlaws.

And with that, Black Orpheus history of the Frontier was done. Not finished in the sense that it was complete, but done. Shortly after writing those words he disappeared forever. Some say he found an idyllic world on which to live out his life. Others say that Santiago himself gunned him down. A handful believe that he found the task of codifying the entire history of the Inner Frontier in verse too daunting, and that he simply gave it up and went off to live out his years in solitude.

At the moment that he became a catalyst for history, Danny Briggs knew little of Santiago and even less of Black Orpheus. Like most kids, he'd grown up thrilled by legends about both, but that was the extent of his knowledge and his interest. On the third night of the fifth month of the year 3407 of the Galactic Era, Danny Briggs had other things on his mind as he scaled the end of a long, low building, a cloth bag slung over his right shoulder.

He moved slowly, carefully, trying not to make a sound-but then the wind shifted, carrying his scent to the creatures below, and all his precautions were for nothing. A huge Moondevil, two hundred pounds of muscle and sinew, saw him creeping across the roof and began howling. A Polarcat, glistening white in the moonlight, leaped up from its own enclosure and tried to dig its claws into Danny's leg.

As the young man sidestepped the Polarcat, two more animals of a type he'd never seen before launched themselves toward him, falling back as they hit the edge of the gently pitched roof.

Danny cursed under his breath. There was no sense moving cautiously any longer. The only way to shut all the animals up was to get out of their sight as quickly as possible. He raced the length of the roof, ignoring the increasing din, and finally jumped down to a small atrium. He adjusted his pocket computer to set up a signal that disrupted the security cameras, found the door he was looking for, used the code he had stolen months earlier, and entered the office.

He ignored the safe and instead activated the computer. In seconds he had accessed the data he needed. He pulled out his tiny scanner, transferred the data to it, and put it back in a pocket. Then he deactivated the computer. The entire operation took less than a minute.

He considered killing the security system and just walking out the front door, but that would have given away the fact that he'd been there, and all his efforts would be wasted if the police suspected that anyone had invaded this particular office—especially when they discovered that no money had been taken.

Instead he went back the way he'd come. The animals were silent now, but he knew they wouldn't stay that way for long. Choosing speed over stealth, he climbed onto the roof of the long, low building again and raced the length of it in the face of the ever-increasing howls, growls, and screams. When he came to the Moondevil, he reached into his cloth bag, withdrew a small dead animal, and tossed it into the Moondevil's enclosure. Now if enough neighbors reported all the noise and the police investigated, they'd find the remains of the animal and assume that it had somehow wandered into the kennel and caused all the commotion.

An hour later he was sitting at his usual table at the Golden Fleece, a tavern on the outskirts of New Punjab, a small city that had nothing in common with the original Punjab except the subjugation of its natives, in this case the orange-skinned humanoids of Bailiwick. The world wasn't a very large or very important one: it held no fissionable materials, few precious stones or metals, and the farmland wasn't the best. But it did have two million natives— it had had close to five million before the Navy pacified them—and three human cities, of which New Punjab, with almost forty thousand residents, was the largest.

It was said that Black Orpheus had once spent a night on Bailiwick, but there were no holograms or other records to prove it. Bailiwick's main claim to fame was Milos Jannis, who had been born there and was now the Democracy's middleweight freehand champion. Two minor actors and a second-rate novelist were the only other things Bailiwick had to brag about.

Danny Briggs didn't want to add to that total. He was content to remain relatively unknown and unapprehended. He shunned publicity the way bad politicians seek it out. Even when he turned a profit at what he considered to be his business, he always made sure to deposit and spend it offworld.

He ordered a drink and sat there, staring at himself in the mirror behind the bar. He wasn't thrilled with what he saw: He stood a few inches under six feet in an era when the average man stood two inches over six feet. He was thin; not emaciated, but somewhere between slender and wiry. His head was covered by nondescript brown hair. He didn't like his chin much; too pointy. For the hundredth time he considered growing a beard to cover it, but his mustache was so sparse he hated to think of what a beard would look like. His ears stuck out too far; he figured one of these days he was going to lose one or both in a fight.

No, on the whole, there wasn't much about Danny Briggs that he liked. Hell, he didn't even like the way he made his living. He didn't believe in God, so he didn't believe that God had some nobler purpose for him. He had no fire burning in his belly, but rather a certain unfocused dissatisfaction, a desire to make some kind of mark, to scratch his name on the boulder of Time so people would know he'd been here. Not that he was a hero, because he wasn't; not because he would someday make a difference to the handful of misfits and criminals that formed his circle of friends, because he knew he was incapable of making one; but simply to show those who came after him that once upon a time there was a man named Danny Briggs, and he had lived right here on Bailiwick, and that, just once, he'd done something worth remembering.

Except that everything he'd done up to now was aimed at letting no one know he'd been here, and far from remembering him, he wanted nothing more than for the police and the Democracy to completely ignore his existence.

Interesting conflict, he thought wryly. The urge to be known versus the need to be hidden. Perhaps someday he'd resolve it, though he doubted it.

A grizzled, white-haired man with a noticeable limp entered the Golden Fleece, looked around, and walked directly to Danny's table.

"I'm not too early, am I?" he asked.

"No, I've got it," said Danny.

"The usual price?"

"Three hundred Maria Theresa dollars up front and twenty percent of whatever you make."

"It was two hundred fifty last time," grumbled the man.

"Success breeds inflation."

"You sure you won't take Democracy credits?" asked the old man.

?I don't want anything to do with them," said Danny. Besides, he added mentally, you start spending too many Democracy credits, you start attracting a little too much Democracy attention—but I guess you haven't figured that out, have you?

"Okay,"okay," said the old man. He removed a prosthetic hand, pulled a wad of money out of it, counted out three hundred Maria Theresa dollars, and pushed them across the table.

"Thanks," said Danny. He pulled out a tiny computer, retrieved an address, and transferred it to a hologram for the old man to study. "This is it."

"You're sure?"

"Have I ever been wrong yet?" asked Danny, nodding to another client, who had entered the Golden Fleece and caught his eye.

"No, you never have been," said the old man. "I don't know how you do it."

That's because you and every other fool I deal with would have broken into the kennel's safe tonight and come away with a couple hundred credits if you were lucky. Not one of you would ever think of stealing a list of the animal's owners, complete with their addresses and the dates that they're gone.

"Memorize it," said Danny, indicating the hologram that the tiny computer was projecting.

The man studied it, then nodded his head. Danny wiped the information from the machine and deactivated it.

"Thanks, Danny," said the old man, getting to his feet. The next client sat down opposite him.

Jesus! I rob the data from that computer every three or four months and don't take any other risks, and I get twenty percent of three hundred robberies a year. It's almost too easy. Doesn't anyone else on this dirtball have a brain?

Their negotiation completed, the man got up and left, and Danny was alone with his drink once again. A redhead, a bit overweight but still pretty, smiled a greeting at him from a nearby table.

"Hi, Danny," she said.

"Hi yourself, Duchess," said Danny. "I just finished tonight's business. Why don't you come over and join me?" He flashed a wad of money. "I'm solvent tonight."

"You never give up, do you?" she said, amused.

"Of course not," replied Danny. "You don't hit the moon if you don't shoot for it."

"Am I the moon?"

"You'll do."

"Boy, you sure know how to turn a girl on," she said sardonically.

He smiled."It works with all the other girls."

"So turn your charm on one of them."

"Anything worthwhile takes effort," he replied. "You take effort."

"I suppose I'm flattered," said the Duchess.

"So join me."

"I said I was nattered, not interested."

"One of these days you're going to say yes, and it'll be a race to see which of us drops dead from shock first."

"One of these days you'll get an honest job, and maybe I'll say yes."

"If I had an honest job, I couldn't afford you." He smiled."I'm sure someone somewhere has based an entire philosophical system on a paradox just like that one."

"Not funny, Danny."

"Look, some people are great rulers of men, some are great cleaners of stables. I found out what I was good at early on."

"I think it's criminal that you feel that way."

He smiled again."Criminal's the word. Still, I'm willing to be shown the error of my ways. Come have a drink."

"No, thanks."

"You really won't join me?"

"I really won't."

"But your heart would be broken if I hadn't asked, right?"

"Try not asking some night and we'll see."

"You drive a hard bargain, Duchess," said Danny. "But one of these days you'll see me as I really am."

"Maybe I already do."

"Fate forfend," he said in mock dismay.

A moment later he got up and made his way to the men's room. As he was washing his hands the door dilated and two burly men entered the small cubicle.

"Hi, Danny," said the taller of them.

"Hi, Mr. Balsam," replied Danny, trying to hide his apprehension. "Hi, Mr. Gibbs."

"That's Commander Balsam."

"And Lieutenant Gibbs," added the shorter, wider man.

"That's only when you're on duty," said Danny."And if you were on duty, you wouldn't be drinking in a tavern."

"We're not drinking," said Balsam."And it's still Commander."

"Whatever makes you happy," said Danny. "Good evening, Commander."

"Well, it didn't start out that way, but it's improving," replied Balsam. A grin that boded no good spread across his face. "You fucked up big time tonight, Danny."

"I don't know what you're talking about. I've been in the bar all night."

"No, you've been swiping data from a kennel. We've got you cold."

"You have holograms of me breaking into a kennel? I doubt that."

"Of course we don't have any holos, Danny. You disabled the cameras, remember?"

"Fingerprints, then? Or maybe voiceprints, or a retinagram?" suggested Danny.

"We know you've wiped your prints, and you've got contacts that give a false retina reading," said Gibbs.

"Well, you're certainly welcome to search me for this mysterious data you're referring to."

"You're a bright lad, Danny," said Balsam. "You've either got it hidden away or committed to memory."

"I wish I could help you," said Danny with a smile, "but aren't you supposed to have evidence before you start making accusations?"

"Oh, we've got it, Danny. Holograms, retinagrams, voiceprints, everything."

Danny frowned."But you just said—"

"We didn't get it at the kennel," said Balsam. "We got it at the market."

"What market?"

Balsam grinned again. "For a smart guy, you did a really dumb thing, Danny. You went to the biggest, best-protected market in town, and you bought a dead minipor to feed the animals if they got noisy."

"I assume you're going to get to the point sometime this evening," said Danny, already scanning the room for some means of escape.

"The minipor's a rare item, Danny. And the reason it's a rarity is because it comes from Churchill II. The store has security cameras showing you buying the only minipor imported to Bailiwick in the past half year—and there was enough of its skeleton left in the Moondevil's enclosure so that we could identify it." He paused. "It was a nice scam, Danny. Of all the scum I deal with, only you would have figured out there was a hundred times more profit in a list of empty houses than in the kennel's cash box."

Danny glanced at the small window on the back wall of the washroom.

"Don't even think of it," said Gibbs. "You'd never fit through, and we'd tack on another two years for trying to escape."

"Who's escaping?" said Danny pleasantly. "I hope you have a comfortable cell. My lawyer doesn't like getting up before noon, so I'll be spending the night with you."

"This night and the next thousand," said Balsam. He withdrew a pair of glowing manacles. "Hands behind your back, Danny."

"Can I get a drink of water first?"

"Okay, but no funny stuff."

"You tell me what's funny about a glass of water," said Danny, pulling a cup out of the wall and holding it beneath the faucet. "Cold," he ordered.

Cold water filled the cup, and Danny drank it down.

"One more?"

"Come on, Danny. You had your drink."

"You know what the water's like in jail," said Danny. "Let me have one more drink. How can it hurt?"

Balsam shrugged. "Yeah, okay, go ahead."

"Thanks," said Danny. He turned to the sink and held the glass under the tap as the two officers relaxed and waited for him.

"Hot!" he croaked.

Boiling hot water filled the glass, and in a single motion he hurled it in Balsam's face, grabbed the manacles, connected Gibbs' wrist to the sink, and raced out the door.

Danny had a three-step lead on Balsam as he raced to the door of the Golden Fleece. The commander pulled out a screecher, a sonic pistol that would put him out for the rest of the night and give him a headache for a week, but as he was running after Danny and taking aim, the Duchess stuck out a foot and tripped him. He fell with a bone-jarring thud.

Danny raced back to the table, took her hand, and began pulling her toward the door.

"I didn't mean to do that!" she said, panic-stricken. "It was instinct! I just didn't want him to shoot you!"

"I believe you!" said Danny urgently. "He never will! Come on! He's not going to stay down forever, and he's got a partner!"

Suddenly Gibbs, the manacle hanging from his wrist, burst into the tavern.

"Now!" said Danny urgently. The Duchess took a quick glance at Gibbs, screamed, and actually beat Danny out the door.

"Left!" he whispered as he caught up with her. They reached the corner and had just turned out of the line of sight when the two policemen emerged, weapons in hand, from the tavern.

"Now they're going to kill us!" whispered the Duchess, terrified.

"They're never going to find us," answered Danny. "Just trust me and do what I say."

They ran through the streets, turning frequently, never seeing any sign of their pursuers, always moving farther and farther from the center of the small city. After a few minutes the buildings took on new and different shapes: some were triangular, some trapezoidal, some seemed to follow no rational plan at all.

"Where are we?" asked the Duchess, as Danny led her down narrow winding streets that seemed totally patternless.

"The native quarter," he said. "They won't follow us here."

"Is it dangerous?" she asked, looking around.

"It is if they know you work for the Democracy. They'll leave us alone."

"How do you know?"

"I've spent a lot of time here," said Danny, nodding to an orange-skinned being who stared right through him as if he didn't exist. "They know I won't do them any harm."

"You have alien friends?"

"They're not aliens, they've natives," answered Danny. "And yes, I have friends here."

She began looking panicky again. "I can't believe it! I'm a fugitive, and I'm hiding out in the alien quarter!"

"Calm down," said Danny. "You're safe now."

"You calm down!" she snapped. "Maybe you're used to having the police after you, but it's a new experience for me, and I don't like it very much!"

"They won't come to the quarter," he said confidently.

"Are we going to spend the night here?"

He shook his head. "We'll give the police half an hour to figure out where I went, and another couple of minutes to decide it's not worth the effort to search for us here."

"Then what?"

He smiled. "Then we have our choice of fifty-three empty houses."

She lit a smokeless cigarette. "So it's not enough that I helped a criminal escape capture," she said bitterly. "Now the police can add breaking and entering to the charges."

"I'm grateful that you stopped my friend Commander Balsam from shooting me," said Danny, "but no one asked you to. It was your choice to hinder a police officer in the pursuit of a criminal, so don't blame me."

"I told you: I wasn't thinking clearly," she said. "I was just reacting."

"Believe me, no one's going to arrest you," Danny assured her. "Any red-blooded man who was at the tavern will swear that Balsam tripped over you."

"Do you really think so?"

"I do. Besides, if I don't know your real name, neither do they. If you choose to stay with me, all they know is they're after someone who called herself the Duchess. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'll give plenty of ten-to-one that that's not the name on your ID disk or your passport."

"It isn't. I didn't like my name, so I changed it."

"They do that on the Inner Frontier, not here on the Democracy worlds. How can the government keep tabs on you if they don't know who you are?"

"I never thought of it that way," she said, "but maybe choosing a new name wasn't a bad idea."

"Beats the hell out of being a Myrtle."

"Do I look like a Myrtle to you?"

He stared at her and shook his head. "You look like a Duchess who saved my life. Of course, you won't drink with me, but if I have to choose between your doing one or the other …" He ended with a smile.

"Well, you look exactly like a Danny Briggs."

"That bad, huh?"

"If you don't like the name, change it like I did."

"What would I change it to?"

"That's for you to decide."

"I never had a hero," he admitted. "I guess I'll keep it and stay who I am."

They stood in silence for a few more minutes, engulfed in angular shadows. Then Danny checked his timepiece.

"We've been here almost an hour," he announced. "I think we can start hunting up a place to stay while we figure out our next move."

"Where are we going?" she asked as he began walking back toward the city.

"Where do you want to go?"

"You know that little hill at the south end of town, the one overlooking Lake Belora?" she said. "Have you got anything there?"

"I've got two houses in the area," he replied. "I won't know if either of them has a lake view until we get there."

The first house was actually in a valley just beyond the hill, but the second, still luxurious but less impressive, looked like they would be able see the lake from the second level.

"It's too bad I didn't know this would be happening," remarked Danny. "There's an empty villa fronting the lake. It even has a dock and a couple of boats."

"So let's go there."

He shook his head. "It's going to be robbed sometime tonight. We don't want to be anywhere near it, just in case."

"How will we get in?" asked the Duchess as they approached the front door of the house they had chosen. "I don't know how to break into a house. Won't it have a security system?"

"Have a little trust in the man whose life you saved," he replied, kneeling down to study the computer lock. "Shit!"

"What is it?"

"I can crack the combination in a couple of minutes, but it's got a bone reader."

"A bone reader?"

"Yeah. I can get around almost any retina ID system, but bone readers are tough. They scan your skeleton and compare it to anyone who the computer's been programmed to accept. I've got a couple of healed fractures that won't match up against anyone else's."

"Then we'll do without our lake view and go to the other house."

"Give me a minute," he said. "There's never been a security system that couldn't be penetrated."

"By you?"

"By somebody." He flashed her a smile. "I am but a talented amateur."

"Sure," she retorted. "And I'm a millionaire virgin."

"That gives me all the more reason to find a way into the house."

He touched the lock, and a holographic screen appeared in the air, filled with dozens of icons. His fingers began moving expertly over the lock, and the icons began racing across the screen in near-hypnotic patterns.

"How's it coming?" asked the Duchess after a few minutes.

"Oh, it's been unlocked for a while," he said.

"But you can't hide your fractures."

"I'm not trying to."

After another minute he stood up. "Okay," he said. "I'm done."

The door dilated, and she began to step through it. He grabbed her arm and held her back.

"Gentlemen first," he said, stepping through.

The door slammed shut in her face. He disappeared for a moment, then opened the door and invited her in.

"What was that all about?" she said, entering the house.

"I fed the computer the data about my skeleton and told it I'd been approved. But I didn't know what your skeletal history might be, so after I went in I deactivated the security system." He paused. "I also ordered all the windows to polarize. We can see out, but no one on the outside can see in, even if we have the lights on."

"Do you do this kind of thing often?" she asked.

"Certainly not," he replied. "I get people who are hungrier than I am to do it for me."

She stared at him with an expression that was a cross between concern and admiration. "There's a lot more to you than meets the eye."

"Thank you," said Danny. "I won't even offer an obscene rejoinder." He looked around. "So what do you think of our new quarters?"

"Elegant," she said, walking through the entry room. The carpet anticipated her steps and thickened as she walked, and the mural on the wall slowly, almost imperceptibly, began turning into a three-dimensional scene, then gradually added motion. It went back to being a flat painting as they passed into the next room.

"This is some house!" she said. "I've never been close to anything like this!"

"Yeah, a person could get used to this without much effort," agreed Danny, as a chair positioned itself to accommodate him.

"As long as we're going to be stuck here for a day or two, let's go upstairs and see if we can see the lake," suggested the Duchess.

"Why not?" assented Danny, following her to a staircase. As they put their feet on the first wide stair, it metamorphosed into a carpeted escalator, totally silent, and gently transported them up to the second floor.

They walked to a window and stared out.

"You can almost see it," she said. "If we were even one floor higher we'd have a magnificent view."

"I saw a third level of windows when we were outside," said Danny. "There's probably an attic above us somewhere. We should be able to see it from there."

They searched through the rooms, and finally came to an airlift next to a storage closet.

"This has got to be it," said Danny. "It's the only thing leading up."

"What do we stand on?" asked the Duchess nervously as she looked down to the basement some thirty feet below.

"Just step into the shaft," explained Danny. "It'll sense your presence, and you'll stand on a cushion of air that'll take you up to the attic."

"You're sure? I've never seen one of these things before."

"They're all the rage on Deluros VIII and the bigger worlds," said Danny. "Give it another twenty years and they'll be just as popular here."

She looked skeptical, so he stepped into the shaft first. When she saw him standing on air she joined him, and they floated gently up to the attic.

"Lights," he ordered, and suddenly the attic was illuminated with soft, indirect lighting. As tidy as the house had been, the attic was that chaotic. Books, tapes, disks, and cubes were stacked awkwardly on the floor; paintings were piled against a wall, each leaning on the next. Piles of old wrinkled clothes sat beside piles of unmarked plastic boxes.

"Take a look, Danny!" she enthused, staring out a window. "You can see the whole lake. It's gorgeous!"

"Just a minute," he replied, walking to another window. He knelt down, pushing a few plastic boxes aside. One of the ancient boxes literally cracked open and fell apart.

"Don't you just love the way the moonlight plays on the water?" said the Duchess.

"Oh, Jesus!" whispered Danny.

"I didn't hear you."

There was no answer, and she turned to him.

"I thought you were looking out the window," she said, staring at him as he fingered through a stack of ancient, crumbling papers. He paid no attention to her. "Danny!" she said irritably. "What's the matter with you?"

Finally he looked up, the strangest expression on his face. "Who'd have guessed it?" he whispered. "I mean, this is just another house. Nothing special, nothing to indicate …" His voice trailed off.

"What are you talking about?" she demanded.

He held up a sheet of paper.

"We just hit the mother lode," he said in awed tones.

Copyright © 2003 by Mike Resnick

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The Return of Santiago 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
bdjnk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
These are the startling adventures of small time thief Danny Briggs as he attempts to succeed Black Orpheus, the famous bard of the Inner Frontier, a place where each criminal and vigilante lawman is more dangerous and infamous than the last. And in the long history of this vast interplanetary wild west there is one figure more infamous than all others combined, Santiago. A man of countless legends beyond credulity, with a record of dastardly deeds so fantastic it borders on the absurd.As Danny Briggs reads the short poems composing this history as told by Black Orpheus he realizes that Santiago was not one man but a series of them. And as he begins to pen his own mediocre poetry he decides that each bard needs his own Santiago, and his mission to revive the legend is born.What the book lacks in subtlety, and it certainly is lacking, it makes up for in pure fun. Indeed, while the larger plot holds no real surprises once the story gets rolling, the specific happenings are often unexpected and almost always entertaining.Still, the main value of the book is in the large and varied cast of oddballs. There are cat-burglars and gunslingers, crack-shots and crackpots, countless colorful characters each one with a fascinating story of his own. And as Briggs meets each of them he composes an uninspired little poem or two recording their deeds and summing up the lives for posterity.Supposedly this is the story of the search for Santiago, a figure needed to keep the Democracy, a.k.a. the tyrannical intergalactic government, from excessively exploiting the lawless Inner and Outer Frontiers. In truth it's the story of personal change. I know that sounds incredibly cornball, and it is. Fortunately this is an area where Mike Resnick seems capable of subtly storytelling. You don't even realize it until you've finished and put down the book, so don't let that scare you.My advice is this, if you read solely for a fresh unexpected plot you might want gives this one a pass. But if a book can catch you by cast alone pick a copy up. I didn't regret it and I don't think will you.p.s. The blurb on the back seems to have been written under the influence of something quite unbalancing. Ignore it completely.
harstan More than 1 year ago
More than a century has passed since the disappearance of the legendary rebel outlaw Santiago, alleged killer of hundreds of planets and untold number of people. Over the years the fable of Santiago¿s feats have grown exponentially among the Inner Frontier to where he has become immortal and will one day return. Minor criminal Danny Briggs accidentally finds a manuscript of the Black Orpheus that records the deeds of Santiago the Revolutionary. Realizing what he possesses and the information the epic poems provide on Santiago, Danny concludes that the revolutionary outlaw tried to protect the Inner Frontier from the corruption of the human Democracy. Danny assumes an alias of Dante Alighieri and adds new stanzas filled with heroes and villains to the tome while seeking amongst the toughest outlaws, someone to become the new Santiago. Fans of the wild, Wild West in outer space will relish the sequel to Mike Resnick¿s SANTIAGO. The adventurous story line explodes into a faster than the speed of light thriller once Danny concludes that Santiago was not just a thief and begins his quest. The support cast that he meets consists of a wild bunch of eccentrics. Fans of Pecos Bill in Outer Space will appreciate THE RETURN OF SANTIAGO and clamor for re-release of the legendary first novel. Harriet Klausner