IF YOU'RE TOO TALL OR TOO SHORT, YOU'RE A SLAVE.
Gar Pike, a.k.a. renegade psychic wizard Magnus D'Armand, finds himself on the distant planet Siegfried amid a lost colongy modeled after medieval Scandinavia from Old Earth, complete with the Norse pantheon, dwarves, and even giants.
But the three human races have hated each other since the dawn of time, and the planet is beleaguered by racism and prejudice, even slavery. Giants, dwarves, and humans have waged constant war with each other for as long as anyone can remember.
It's a tough nut to crack, even for an experienced psychic liberator. Can Gar unify the peoples of Siegfried, teach them to tolerate and live with one another in peace? And, most importantly, can he teach the lonely girl Alea to live with and - dare he hope - love him?
Planet healer Magnus d'Armand, aka Gar Pike, takes on Norse mythology and the proto-Nazi mentality spawned by its use in Wagner's Ring cycle in Stasheff's sixth installment of his The Rogue Wizard saga. Landing on Siegfried, a planet settled centuries earlier by Terrans, Gar falls afoul of the vicious slave-keeping Midgarders, normal-sized humans who fight continually with huge giants and tiny dwarves. An accident to the original colonizing ship's defrosting unit killed most of the initial settlers, forcing the inbreeding that created the planet's three races. With the help of Alea, a large but lissome escapee from Midgard slavery, Gar telepathically implants the songs and dreams of peace and freedom that will heal this unlikely but appealing world. Stasheff's Crayola-colored backdrops and childish stick-people befit his simplistic but morally decent messages: love your enemies, treat women as equals, govern your society with justice. When Gar and Alea sail off into the galactic sunset (though occupying separate bedrooms), not overwrought Wagnerian thunder but bouncy, reassuring strains of "It's a Small World After All" echo through the imagination.