The second of Vance's far-future Cadwal Chronicles (Araminta Station--not reviewed) continues the struggle for control of Cadwal--a planet of great beauty and remarkable lifeforms--as hero Glawen Clattuc and his fellow Conservators attempt to foil the conspiracies of the venal Simonetta and her rapacious allies. Cadwal's Conservationist Charter has mysteriously disappeared; since whoever holds it can claim title to the planet, the Conservator's beautiful daughter Wayness Tamm hurries off to Old Earth in search of it. Meanwhile, Glawen must travel to Ecce- -Cadwal's tropical continent seethes with noxious creatures--to trace and rescue his missing father, believed abducted and imprisoned by Simonetta. Wayness, following the trail to the charter through unexpected twists and turns, finds herself pursued and threatened by sinister agents prepared to do murder in order to seize the charter before she does. A fascinating science-fiction detective puzzle. The appearance of any Vance--for wit, inventiveness, and the inimitable prose style--is a welcome treat; and this, while not his finest work (he appears to be coasting rather than driving), is no exception.