Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Baen Books (Jul 2001)
This is the first of the Tales of the Three Kings series. It's unusual, in that the initial story starts out with a starship of missionaries (somewhat like a travelling show in the US tradition) arriving at a new planet. Or at a town on a new planet, because there seems to be very little dispersal of the colonists beyond their original landing point. But the locals are behaving suspiciously, seeming to be hiding something.
Jack Chalker was at his best when he played with big concepts, huge canvases. The Well World, for example, a massive set of lots of different races, with lots of different tech. He may not have been a great writer, nor one endowed with much depth, but he could write gosh-wow adventures that could really hook you (if he'd not irritated you too much). This, though, reads like a disappointing shadow of him.
Even by Chalker's standards, this is minor.