First hardcover appearance for an established paperback series (House of Shards, 1988, etc.) about Drake Maijstral, the top-rated Allowed Burglar in the Human Constellation that shares the galaxy, now amicably, with the alien Khosali Empire. This time, Maijstral is visiting Earthnot in his professional capacityand while staying with several high-born hosts, finds himself, variously, accused of theft, assaulted, challenged to duel to the death, and proposed marriage to. Worse, his Khosali servant, Roman, is molting and therefore exceedingly irritable. When his father's coffin shows upGustav is still talkative, though dead, but has trouble remembering thingsonly to be abducted, Maijstral begins to suspect a plot. Eventually his suspicions focus on Elvis impersonator Major Ruth Song, who's in town for the upcoming Memphis Olympiad. It seems that Song bears Maijstral a grudge on behalf of her ancestors: During the human-Khosali war, Maijstral's grandfather, who supported the Khosali side, earned the sobriquet of Robert the Butcher. Adroitly handled but flatly unamusing: not one of Williams's (Metropolitan, etc.) better prospects.