Matthew Hughes, who writes faux-Jack Vance novels and short stories has completed a “sequel” to Vance’s famous Demon Princes series. Hughes’ sequel should be published later in 2021, so I decided to reread the Demon Princes series starting with the first volume, Star King (aka, The Star King) first published in 1963. Five criminals organize a raid on the city of Mount Pleasant. Many of the citizens are killed, the rest are sold into slavery. Kirth Gersen and his grandfather are among the few survivors. They migrate to Earth where Gersen’s grandfather trains Kirth to become a skilled assassin whose mission is to avenge the deaths of his family and friends.
Tales of vengeance are a dime a dozen, but Jack Vance’s series features the solving of mysteries which make his series unique. Kirth Gersen has to find each of the five villains before he can extract his revenge. So questions of identity and strategy play large roles in Gersen’s searches of hidden meanings and sinister patterns.
If you’re looking for a series of tales with clever twists and unexpected actions, Demon Princes displays some of Jack Vance’s best writing. GRADE: B+ (for Star King)