Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Review: Toyman

Toyman by E C Tubb (1969)

Earl Dumarest has landed on another bad planet.  He's come to Toy to consult the supercomputer known as the Library about the location of Earth only to end up on the losing side in a gladiatorial game where the member of the losing team are all put to death and then, illegally, he escapes the arena.  Now a fugitive from the authorities, Dumarest must find a way to complete his mission and stay alive.  Meanwhile, Stockholder Leon and his fellow conspirators try to work out their next step in their plan to overthrow the brutal dictator of Toy, the Toymaster. And, of course, a member of the Cyclan is waiting patiently.

Toyman is the third in the Dumarest series and it takes a bit of a rest from developing the formula.  Dumarest is more brutal than we've seen him in the previous two outings, but the Cyclan here are more generic villains rather than the archenemies that they will soon become.  The novel is a straightforward adventure with two parallel storlines:  Dumarest's flight to avoid capture for daring to survive the arena and of Leon and his intrigues against the Toymaster.  Eventually, these two lines intersect in a rather neat blending that allows Dumarest to save the day without things seeming too contrived.

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