The wonderful and exciting saga of Dray Prescot of Earth and of Kregen continues apace with book twenty, A Sword for Kregen. This is the second book of the “Jikaida Cycle” by Kenneth Bulmer writing as Alan Burt Akers, and sees Dray taking part in Kazz-Jikaida and Death-Jikaida in Jikaida City.
The back-of-the-book blurb:
The most popular game among the many peoples of Kregen, world of Antares, is one that resembles chess, called Jikaida. Jikaida is a battle of wits and war game pieces that suited well the tension charged atmosphere that enveloped Dray Prescot. For reconquering Vallia was assuming the aspect of such a game – move versus countermove, horde against horde! Then Dray Prescot found himself no longer in control of just a game – he had become a living chessman on a real-life board at the dreaded arena of Jikaida City. There every move was accompanied by bloodshed and behind every game might hang the fate of a city, an island, or even a nation!
About Dray Prescot (from the preface by Alan Burt Akers):
Dray Prescot presents an enigmatic picture of himself; reared in the inhumanly harsh conditions of Nelson’s Navy, he has been transported by the Scorpion agencies of the Star Lords, the Everoinye, and the Savanti, the superhuman yet mortal people of AphrasÃ¶e the Swinging City, to the demanding and fulfilling world of Kregen orbiting Antares, four hundred light years from Earth, where he has made his home.
He is a man above middle height, with brown hair and level brown eyes, brooding and dominating, with enormously broad shoulders and superbly powerful physique. There is about him an abrasive honesty and indomitable courage, he moves like a savage hunting cat, quiet and deadly. He has struggled through triumph and disaster and has acquired a number of titles and estates, and now the people of the island of Vallia, which has been ripped apart by ambitious and mercenary invaders, have called on him to lead them to freedom as their emperor.
His story, which he records on cassettes, is arranged so that each volume may be read as complete in itself. There have been many questions about the role of Prescot on Kregen and particularly about the nature and purpose of his antagonists. I am firmly convinced he does see far further ahead than perhaps he is given credit for. His words inspire our belief, particularly in what he has to say about the Star Lords. He implies they are not as malefic as at one time we might have been led to believe.
Whatever the outcome for Dray Prescot, we are aware that he is conscious that he struggles against a far darker and more profound fate than is revealed in anything he has so far told us.