The Dirdir

by Jack Vance
Series: Planet of Adventure 3
Reviewed date: 2012 Sep 17
Rating: 3
158 pages
cover art

In the previous Planet of Adventure books, Adam Reith--an Earthman stranded on the planet Tschai--has failed to steal a spaceship from the Chasch, succeeded in stealing a spaceship from the Wankh, and crashed that spaceship into a lake. Now he tries his hand at something more subtle: constructing a spaceship using spare parts purchased from the Dirdir.

To finance his endeavor, Reith and his companions enter the Dirdir hunting preserve and steal a few hundred thousand sequins, which grow naturally. In doing so, they are forced to kill several Dirdir hunters who attack them. Then, trying to keep a low profile, they travel to the capital Dirdir city of Sivishe, set up shop near the spaceport, and start constructing a spaceship. What could possibly go wrong?

Not having the requisite knowledge to beg, borrow, and bribe the necessary parties, Reith hires a corrupt local businessman to handle the construction of the spaceship. Of course, Woudiver cheats him at every turn. When Reith runs out of money, Woudiver sells him out to the Dirdir authorities. Reith challenges the Dirdir according to their ancient racial custom, which entails a fight to the death. Reith wins.

At the conclusion of the book, Reith is free from the Dirdir threat but still has not completed his spaceship. He holds Woudiver captive, and hopes that Woudiver's help--although coerced--will be enough to complete the spaceship.

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