Romance and Thrilling Space Opera!
“…roistering adventure, two beautiful heroines, one of the most likable villains you could ask for … color and imagery … a final world-smashing slug-fest … good fun.” —Analog/Astounding
She was Lianna, ruler of the Kingdom of Fomalhaut. He was Zarth Arn, prince of the Mid-Galactic Empire, scion of the ruling house of Star Kings. Only these two stood between peace and a war of galactic conquest. And one of them was an impostor.
“Epic … lyrical … conceived on the grand scale.” —New York Herald Tribune
The Star Kings is the supreme work by the master of romantic space opera, Edmond Hamilton. John Gordon, a war vet restless in the humdrum of an office job, is offered a chance for adventure when he is contacted via dreams by Zarth Arn, a scientist-prince living two hundred thousand years in the future, and asked to exchange bodies for a week. Zarth will research the present, while Gordon experiences the galaxy-spanning future of the star-kingdoms—200,000 years from now. There is only one stipulation: Gordon must give his word that under no circumstances will he reveal his true identity to anyone of Zarth's time.
Moments later, John Gordon is hurtled through time to the Earth of two thousand centuries hence—into Zarth Arn's laboratory and body. But, before the week is over, Gordon is summoned to the throne world of Throon by Zarth Arn's father, ruler of the Mid-Galactic Kingdom. Unable to reveal his identity without breaking his pledge to Zarth Arn, Gordon is forced to play the role of the young star prince, and finds himself caught in a strange triangle between two women: the intelligent, dynamic Lianna, ruler of the Star-Kingdom of Fomalhaut, whom Zarth's father has ordered him to wed (and with whom Gordon swiftly falls in love), and warm, tender Murn (who Zarth Arn loves).
Galactic civilization is facing its greatest crisis, a war of conquest by Shorr Kan, tyrant of the League of Dark Worlds. Before John Gordon can even orient himself to this far future universe, Zarth Arn's father is assassinated, with Zarth himself framed for the killing. Saved by Lianna, the pair flee on a galaxy-spanning quest for the secret of the Disruptor, the one weapon that can defeat the Dark Worlds and preserve the freedom of the stars.
If they succeed, Gordon knows he must return to his own time, losing Lianna, the woman he loves, forever—or deliberately marooning Zarth Arn 200,000 years in the past, separating him from Murn, the woman he loves, forever.
Part of Edmond Hamilton's breathtaking future history chronicles, The Two Thousand Centuries.
New, improved re-edited edition with a long introduction about the author, space opera, and the book; plus all the original magazine illustrations!