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    SWORDSHIPS OF SCORPIO by Alan Burt Akers (Dray Prescott)

    DAW, 1973

    Dray Prescott, earth-human from the age of Napoleon, has been transported to far-off Kregan where he has claimed a position of power. (See classic science fiction or science fiction by author for a complete listing of Dray Prescott novels reviewed). In SWORDSHIPS OF SCORPIO, Prescott has been abandoned by his Vallian allies and once again finds himself alone on Kregan. Far from Delia, the great love of his life, Prescott sets off to find Vallia on his own. He completes his journey through the 'hostile territories,' greatly weakened by his run-in with intelligent dinosaurs, and ends up in Pandahem, a traditional rival to Vallia, guardian to a young prince, Pando.

    Prevented from completing his journey to Vallia by great storms that rise each time he heads in its direction, Prescott must carve out his destiny in Pandahem. As is often the case in the early Prescott series, Dray must deal with an assortment of women who fall in love with him, this time including a pirate queen. Prescott moves up the pirate ranks quickly, eventually commanding enough respect in the pirate fleet to help both Vallia and Pando who becomes a perpetual problem for Prescott throughout the series. He also finds a new friend, Inch, who becomes a recurring humorous character throughout the series (Inch suffers from terrible taboos which typically result in forcing him to stand on his head), as well as a loyal comrad in arms.

    Although SWORDSHIPS OF SCORPIO does not advance Prescott in title (as did TRANSIT TO SCORPIO), or martial skills (SUNS OF SCORPIO), it is more than the transitional novel that WARRIOR OF SCORPIO proves to be. Prescott returns to Pandahem frequently, generally to bail out the ungrateful Pando, and the allies and enemies he makes there stay with him throughout his career. As always, Alan Burt Akers excels in the martial scenes where Prescott is tested by new opponents and races of opponents. One of his crewmen, Valka, serves to foreshadow Prescott's next great adventure, his first landing on Vallia itself.

    SWORDSHIPS OF SCORPIO is a worthwhile addition to the Prescott series although it does not equal either the first two novels nor the truly moving PRINCE OF SCORPIO which follows. Fans will wish to read all of the novels in order. Readers new to the series will find SWORDSHIPS OF SCORPIO approachable as it is designed to be read as a stand-alone novel. See more reviews of novels by Alan Burt Akers/Dray Prescott.

    Three Stars

    SWORDSHIPS OF SCORPIO was out of print at the time of this review. Check with for used books or reprint status,