In the tradition of Leslie Charteris’s Saint and Jack Vance's Magnus Ridolph, etc., two long interconnected stories featuring Kieran “Knight” Thane, a medium-future knight errant who rights wrongs, cons the conmen and swindles the swindlers while bolstering his personal retirement fund: from the author of The Legend That Was Earth (2000), etc. In the first adventure, Kieran arrives on Mars after wandering the solar system and meets up with his longtime friend June Holland. Together they investigate the plight of scientist Leo Sarda; having invented a matter transmitter, Leo successfully transmitted himself, but then somehow was robbed of the five million credits he'd been paid. Leo himself, it emerges, is the only person who could have stolen the money; moreover, he proves to have lost certain recent memories after emerging from the receiving apparatus. The matter transmitter, it seems, actually creates a duplicate of the original; before Leo tested his invention, the original plotted with rival businessmen to cheat the duplicate and his sponsors, and make billions from the deal. Poor Leo's been swindled by himself. In the second adventure, archeologists exploring the Martian desert discover ancient ruins that might prove the existence of a recent civilization on Mars--and confirm a contemporary pre-Egyptian civilization on Earth. Some predatory bigwigs, however, want to develop the site. Just as Knight prepares to grapple with them, the bad guys from the previous escapade show up.
Pleasant but featherweight, and a pretty thin stretch even at this modest length.