Magnus Ridolph, at first glance, did not look like an interstellar troubleshooter. He was not tall and muscular, his skin had not been turned to a rugged color by the numerous distant suns he had visited, and his voice and manner seemed far too mild for an adventurer. Yet there was a chill hardness in his mild blue eyes that warned of the deceptiveness in his appearance.

Throughout the galaxy, there were men and other beings - Yellowbirds, Tau Gemini ant-things, Hecatian anthropes - who could testify to the deadliness that lurked behind those eyes.

In Magnus Ridolph, Jack Vance has created one of the most memorable characters of his award-winning career.