Dark Piper Author:Andre Norton Returning home after ten years, Griss Lugard found Beltane relatively untouched by the annihilating war of the Four Sectors, her inhabitants still immersed in the biological researches on mutation for which the planet had been designated. The destruction of the other worlds in the Confederation meant little to them, nor would they listen to Luga... more »rd's warnings of danger from the lawless elements roaming the chaotic off-world.
Only Vere Collis and his nine young friends believed in Lugard and, drawn by his magnetism and his promises of exploring unknown desert caves, were safe underground when a series of explosions rocked Beltane, killing Lugard and sealing them in. In the days that followed, the small group battled fear and despair, as well as enemies more tangible, until they won their way to the surface, there to receive a shattering blow: all other human inhabitants on Beltane had perished. Only strange and possibly hostile mutant creatures remained.« less