Wolfling Author:Gordon R. Dickson She was well over six feet tall, and beautiful in a sculptured, abstract way. She had skin the color of white onyx, and her eyes... her eyes were large and feline -- a startling lemon yellow in color. — She was the Princess Afuan, one of the High-born, and she had chosen the Earthman Jim Keil to return to the Throne World with her -- for she'd d... more »ecided that his performance in the bull ring might amuse the Emperor.
She didn't know that Jim was a bullfighter only by virtue of six months' intensive training, nor that the bull was programmed -- his behavior following an impressively fierce but unswerving pattern. Jim was just another wolfling to Afuan -- a lesser being from a backward colony world.
Jim, However, was keenly aware that he was playing a role, one which might prove to be extremely dangerous. Up until 10 years earlier, when their first ship had reached Alpha Centauri, the people of Earth hadn't even known that the vast Empire of human-occupied worlds existed. The discovery had been a profound shock.
Had we evolved independently? Or were we merely descendants of the Empire's first space pioneers -- a lost colony found at last, perhaps with devastating consequences?
That's what Jim Keil had to find out. Chosen from among numerous highly qualified candidates -- an anthropologist trained, mentally and physically, beyond the limits of his profession -- it was his mission to observe the Throne World and the High-born...to determine whether or not they posed a threat to Earth.
One thing was apparent from the start. The High-born WERE superior beings -- physically taller and stronger than other humans, endowed with faster reflexes, superior mental capacity... and extraordinary technological resources. Their contempt for the new wolfling in their midst was open, their intrigues complex. An enormous gulf separated the people of the Throne World from Earthlings.
But that gulf was not so wide that Jim couldn't recognize an enemy when he met one. Clearly, if he remained merely a passive observer of the High-born, he'd never survive among them.« less