Jondelle (Dumarest #10) – EC Tubb (1973)
‘Earth is real,’ Dumarest insisted. ‘A world old and scarred by ancient wars. The stars are few and there is a great, single moon which hangs like a pale sun in the night sky.’
In the quest for his legendary birthplace, Earl Dumarest has traversed galaxies. Now, at last, he reaches Ourelle, a planet close to Earth – out along a far arm of the Milky way. there he finds Jondelle, a boy who may hold the key to Earl’s search.
But then Jondelle is kidnapped. And Dumarest’s pursuit of the imperilled boy leads him to a city of paranoic killers – madmen whose terrible violence is always on a hair-trigger.’
Blurb from the 1977 Arrow paperback edition.
As a bit if a change, Tubb’s title character is not a busty femme-fatale but a young blonde boy on the planet Ourelle.
Someone is going to a lot of trouble to kidnap Jondelle. They have been thwarted by Dumarest once, but succeed on the next attempt, and Dumarest promises the dying mother of the boy that he will get him back.
He assembles a team which heads to a remote valley where tribe of psychotic inbred sadists may hold a clue to the boy’s location.
One gets the impression that Tubb realised he’d spent far too much time in the kidnappers’city as the boy is found and rescued with almost indecent haste.
The explanation as to who kidnapped the boy and why makes a kind of sense, although the whole thing falls apart a bit if one begins to examine the logisitics.
As Dumarest escaped from the Cyclan in the last volume via an unpredictable route, the evil cybers have not yet tracked him down, so there are none in this story.
Dumarest does get some more information about The Original People though, and info about how he might go about identifying Earth’s sun.
There’s a bit of a mystery thrown in at the start as Jondelle tells Dumarest (who was injured protecting Jondelle) that his mother had been giving him medical attention, although Weenek helped. Jondelle says that Weenek visits occasionally but Jondelle does not know if Weenek is male or female as Weenek is not human. Who or what is Weenek?