Murdock Jern is the adopted son of a man who spent a lifetime, sometimes on the wrong side of the law, collecting and examining. . . trading. . . the treasures of the universe. He taught Murdock the intricacies of gem evaluation and left him a special legacy. . . a mysterious, curiously lifeless alien ring which he dubbed the Zero Stone. But apparently others are anxious to claim it. Murdock's father died a brutal death and now Murdock finds himself pursued by the notorious "Thieves' Guild" as well as the Space Patrol. Fortunately he has found an ally in the odd little mutant Eeet, a mind reader with an assortment of unusual talents. Miss Norton's extraordinary imagination is again at work as she reels her hero from a city where they choose sacrificial victims by lottery to a ship where he is condemned as a plague victim through space sans ship where the "Zero stone" acts as a strange propellant to a planet with hidden tombs bearing the bodies of the "Forerunner races," creatures of legend. Good sustaining action in what could be the start of a very nice series.