By: Robert A. Heinlein

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Author Background

Robert Heinlein was an American science fiction writer. Often called the "dean of science fiction writers", he was one of the most influential and controversial authors of the genre in his time. He set a standard for scientific and engineering plausibility, and helped to raise the genre standards of literary quality.


Thorby is a young, defiant slave boy recently arrived on the planet Jubbul, where he is purchased by an old beggar, Baslim the Cripple, for a trivial sum and taken to the beggar's home. Thereafter Baslim treats the boy as a son, teaching him not only the trade of begging, but also mathematics, history, and several languages. Thorby realizes that his foster-father is gathering intelligence, particularly on the slave trade. In addition, Baslim has Thorby memorize a contingency plan and a message to deliver to one of five starship captains in the event of Baslim's arrest or death. When Baslim is captured and beheaded by the local authorities, Thorby and local innkeeper 'Mother Shaum' convey the message to Captain Krausa of the starship Sisu.Thorby is adopted by the captain. Thorby destroys a pirate craft. His immediate superior, a young woman named Mata, begins to view him as a suitable husband, but the customs of the Free Traders forbid this. Thorby is again transferred.the captain, obeying Baslim's last wish, entrusts the boy to a military cruiser and asks its captain to assist Thorby in finding his true place in society.  Thorby is ultimately identified as Thor Bradley Rudbek, the long-lost heir of a very powerful family and a substantial shareholder in Rudbek and Associates, a large, sprawling interstellar business including one of the largest starship-manufacturing companies and the entire city of Rudbek. Thorby, investigating his parents' disappearance and his capture and sale by slavers, comes to suspect that his parents were eliminated to prevent the discovery that some portions of Rudbek and Associates were secretly profiting from the slave trade. Thorby realizes that it will take a lifetime to remove Rudbek and Associates from the slave trade, he reluctantly abandons his dream imitating Baslim as a member of the elite anti-slaver "X" Corps of the Hegemonic Guard.
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Majortity of this book takes place in that of planet Jubbul. But, Thorby is also constantly being transferred to unknown locations throughout chapters.

Slave, Outlaw, Citizen

Slave-Brought to Sargon in chains.Outlaw-Hunted by the police for unknown treasonous acts committed by his beloved owner.Citizen-Thorby became one of the freest of the free in the galaxy as the adopted son of a noble space captin.
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