"Comparable to... Sturgeon, Vonnegut, and Cordwainer Smith." —Judith Merril
"Outrageously fantastic, romantic and generously implausible... full of fantastic bits and glimpses of bizarre beauty, of horror that has a cleaner side, with a denouement that lifts the story out of itself." —P. Schuyler Miller, ANALOG
"The story of a post-atomic quest... streaked through with poetry and crammed with vivid images." —J. Cawthorn, NEW WORLDS
Aldous Huxley has pointed out that while musical prodigies are almost the rule, literary prodigies are comparatively rare. The one area of fiction in which this is not the case is science fiction. Isaac Asimov's first story appeared when he was eighteen, John Brunner's first novel when he was seventeen, Theodore Sturgeon's first story when he was twenty. The roster of young genius in sf is long, and in that context the fact that the author wrote The Jewels of Aptor when he was nineteen, while impressive, is not remarkable—but the style and structure he displays is rare at any age.
The book is a rich, mythic quest, a tale of a thief, a poet and a triple goddess. The theme is mutability. It is handled in a symphony of color, with adventures on fog-bound seas, in treacherous jungles, decaying temples, abandoned cities.
The author has completely revised and expanded this edition from the original.