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The Prodigal Sun

by Philip E. High

Cover artist: Edward Valigursky

Publisher: Ace

Pub year: 1964

Cover price: 40¢


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Book detail for The Prodigal Sun

Cover tagline

Was he there to teach Earth — or to rule it?

Back cover text

Foster child of the Mattrain — planet of supermen — Duncan returned to Earth, his birthplace, only to meet suspicion, hostility and hatred. Upon arrival, he was engulfed by an angry populace who, fearing that he was a spy, welcomed him with jeers and signs saying, ALIEN GO HOME!

To Duncan this reception was not unexpected. He had come, not for his pleasure, but for a purpose — his was a mission on whose success hinged the existence of the whole human race.

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Interior text

They wanted his secrets but feared his presents

To some, Peter Duncan was the symbol of all hope; to others, he was a baleful cancer thriving on the minds of men. By birth, he was an Earthman; by environment, he belonged to a far more advanced world. Since infancy, Duncan had been reared by the super-intelligent creatures of the planet Mattrain.

After thirty years, at a time when Earth was wallowing in the devastation left by interplanetary war, Duncan returned to his birthplace. Earth had won the war, but the victory was far from sweet. Whole continents were strewn with wreckage of cities; the world government was in the hands of a few cynical, ruthless men, and the population, though bitter, was too worn out to care.

Duncan took it all in and smiled. On Mattrain, he had been an intelligent plaything; on Earth, he was a superman. The people loved him and they feared him, but to no one would he tell the reason he had returned to the rubble that was Earth.

Cast of characters

An Earthman, brought up on another planet, he returned to Earth to find everyone and everything pitted against him — except one man.

He welcomed Duncan, for as a reporter, he was tired of being propaganda mouthpiece for a police state.

General Statten
Ruler of Earth — for him government meant instant obedience to his will.

Martha Deering
A beautiful woman and a brilliant physicist, she disappeared from the face of the Earth.

The Vrenka
Each one was green with eight tentacles, and was a member of a hostile race on an alien planet who constantly menaced Earth.

They called him a bodyguard, but he was a member of the secret police whose job it was to spy on the man he was supposed to protect.