Another outing for interstellar sleuth Elias Kane and his pumpkin-headed, pacifist alien sidekick, Pendrake (The Imperator Plot; The Psychopath Plague), this time on the horrid one-and-a-half gravity planet Cassiodorus, where--apparently--some anti-imperial rebels are secretly mining beta-steel and using it to build interstellar dreadnoughts with which to challenge Imperator Briana's mighty fleets. And three imperial inspectors have turned up dead, ostensibly from heart failure. Elias suffers in the crushing gravity of Cassiodorus, although Pendrake isn't bothered--until someone tries to assassinate Elias. Some more corpses show up too, mysteriously drained of life-energy. And, puzzlingly, the imported miners hop about like spring lambs in defiance of the energy-sapping gravity. How? Elias learns their appalling secret: using an alien device, they drain the life-energy from their children and absorb it themselves--nothing is more important than the revolution. Eventually, the trail leads Elias and Pendrake to a violent confrontation with their old nemesis, ex-viceroy Richard Du Morgan. Solid plotting and plenty of action: an above-average sally for the dynamic duo--although cognoscenti will note more than a passing resemblance between Elias & Pendrake and Issac Asimov's classic detecting twosome, Elijah Baley and his robot sidekick Daneel.