Wednesday, January 26, 2011
The Star Treasure
By Keith Laumer
Ban Tarleton was a young Lieutenant on a Navy starship. He accidentally became entangled in a conspiracy to thrown down the ruling forces which resulted in his deserting his post when he thought the starship was being taken over by the conspirators. He fled to Earth where he hid out in extreme hardship, nearly starving to death in the process. He eventually fell into the hands of the authorities and was court-martialed and sent to work the mines on a hot, desert planet.
Life is brutal there and once again, Ban runs afoul of the conspirators, who are convinced that Ban has information vital to their cause, despite his protests to the contrary. He also refuses to join them, maintaining his loyalty to the status quo. His stubbornness results in his being framed for a crime he didn't commit and being cast out of the mines and into the implacable desert of this dry, hot, barren planet. But he doesn't die. Instead he stumbles onto a secret that will not only save his life but will gain him his freedom.
This was a pretty good read. Poor Ban get the stuffing knocked out of him but he keeps on going, even when it looks hopeless. This is a real adventure story, first with Ban trying to escape detection while as a fugitive on Earth and then as he struggles to survive on the prison planet. And the last part of the story is really satisfying, as Ban stumbles on to the secret that will completely turn his life around.