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Mankind was beginning its third leap into the Galaxy, but Old Earth had so long kept to herself that her people were unable to travel safely among the rough-and-tumble cultures that had evolved on distant worlds. That annoyed Earth's rulers, for Hobart Floyt--a minor Terran bureaucrat-- had been left a mysterious inheritance by the deceased ruler of a small but wealthy interstellar empire. Earth was dirt-poor, and the government wanted Floyt's inheritance; but to collect it, Floyt would have to travel to the Reading of the Will...many light-years away! And so Alacrity Fitzhugh--a young, but seasoned spacer--is blackmailed into shepherding this naive Terran on a dangerous interstellar quest.