The Five Gold Bands / The Dragon Masters Author:Jack Vance The Five Gold Bands: — HIDE-AND-GO-SEEK AMONG THE PLANETS — Five bracelets of solid gold?five clues that began an interstellar treasure hunt. And as the luck of the Irish would have it, Paddy Blackthorn found himself the chief hunter?and the chief hunted. — He had only the cryptic messages imprinted in the five armbands so involuntarily left him by... more » the five planetary rulers. He had also the help of a little, black-haired Earther girl to figure out their secrets.
But it was no children's game they were playing. Old Mother Earth, now abandoned by her spawn, founder?ed on the verge of extinction. Only the treasure Paddy sought would suffice to rescue the home planet?and in?cidentally to rule the rest of the cosmos.
War between the Basics and man had been waged intermittently over a period of many decades. Previous encounters had left each side with prisoners of the other species and each had performed remarkable genetic experiments.
Thus, when they met again transformed men were slaves to the lizardlike Basics, fighting their battles and transporting their weapons, while on the other side, transformed Basics became dragons of all shapes and sizes, geared to fight the fiercest battle their human masters could plan.
The nearness of the red star Coralyne predicted the imminence of the next conflict. Joaz Banbeck readied his war dragons to meet the attack. For upon his success might rest the entire future of the race of man on his world.« less