• The Star King

  • The Demon Princes Series, Book 1
  • By: Jack Vance
  • Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki
  • Length: 6 hrs and 51 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (38 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Five intergalactic criminal masterminds raid the tranquil world of Mount Pleasant, leaving behind only ruin and slaughter - and the orphaned child Kirth Gersen, who comes to manhood swearing to take bloody revenge. Now Gersen roams the galaxy, bringing vengeance to the Demon Princes one by one, in Jack Vance's classic series of hardboiled space opera.

In a seedy tavern on Smade's Planet, Kirth Gersen picks up the trail of Attel Malagate, a member of an alien species called Star Kings, who masquerade as humans. Malagate maintains anonymity behind a screen of sinister henchmen, but Gersen will combine subtle guile and stark violence in a strategy to bring him face to face with the first of the Demon Princes.

© 1963 and 2005 Jack Vance (P)2022 Blackstone Publishing and Skyboat Media, Inc.

What listeners say about The Star King

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    5 out of 5 stars

A longtime favorite, perfectly narrated

Jack Vance has long been my favorite author. This series, The Demon Princes, is my most favorite among all his works, if which I own all. I began collecting JV titles first as out-of-print paperbacks, reading and re-reading the five Demon Princes books in particular untill the bindings began to decay.

I have lost count of the number of re-reads. Somewhere between 15 and 18. I like it that well. Not merely the plots and character developement, but also the kaleidoscopic breadth of its universe. Mainly, though, it is the unique motivations of each Demon Prince.

For not one of the villains is evil merely for evil's sake. Not one is a shallow archetype. Nor yet is the hero. At times, there seems little difference between hero and villain, something which troubles the hero himself, when he has time to consider the matter. Both hero and villians are given depth, more so in books 3-5 than in 1 and 2.

On obtaining a better paid job, I re-collected the series in hardcover, signed by Jack himself.

Now, at long last, I have enjoyed to hear it narrated, and by my favorite narrator, no less. Mr. Rudnicki's voice and intonation never fails to penetrate my mild loss of hearing (due, in part, to that job which paid so very well). I like to listen while driving to and from work. Never do I miss a word due to noise from tire noise or wind. Further, he conveys the gravity of every scene to an exacting degree.

Hardly can I wait for the whole series to be complete. While this one book, all by itself, I might rate at 4 of 5 stars, and the next book is some better yet, and books 3 through 5 are all-time classics, to be rated, in order, 6, 8, and 10 stars out of 5.

As an aerospace test engineer, I admit that math does not seem to work out. Nevertheless, I stand by those numbers.

2 people found this helpful

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As addictive as the written novel

Thanks to the excellent performance of Stefan Rudnicki this story comes to live in vivid detail. Jack vance has always been my favourite writer and the colourful language and strange characters let's one dream of far away worlds where countless adventures await.

1 person found this helpful

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A true blue classic space opera!

Jack Vance isn't a household name when it comes to SF authors, but his decades long career gave us some of the finest science fiction ever written. The Demon Princes series, of which the Star King is the first volume, combines good old fashion space opera with crime drama, and a dash of the spy novel. The setting is the far future where mankind has ventured out and settled scores of planets. It is a revenge story featuring Kirth Gersen, a young man from a community on a far off planet which is devastated by a quintet of eccentric interplanetary crime lords. Except for Kirth and his grandfather, all of the inhabitants are either killed or enslaved. After surviving the attack, he is trained from early childhood as an assassin by his grandfather. His sole purpose in life is to track down and punish each of the villains. Along the way however, Gersen must come to terms with what meaning his life will have in the unlikely event that he actually survives his mission.

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Jack Vance is a Star.

Have read Demon Princes several times. Even so, I picked up new details I'd not noticed before. Strange, the differences between visual and auditory formats!

Good vocal performance. Great story.

The vision of future life is both wondrous and grotesque. Back in the day, Vance imagined and evoked imagery equal to that in the film The Cell... Until I listened to the audiobook, I'd never reckoned that before.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-22-22

a masterpiece .

why choose such an awful narrative for one of the best Sci fi stories ever written?
gutted. was so looking forward to this. it has started to grow however!!

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  • geebrkez
  • 05-25-22

It’s bad

An old story made by a Cleary sexist author. Then narrated by an old man with a difficult to hear voice. the book has two redeeming features an old timey fanciful language and an old timey sci-fi setting. Which are also largely offset in their value by the fact that, 1.certain words have proven illegible and apparently impossible to vocalise, 2.that I personally found the main character disagreeable, 3.because the author chose to make some one other than the female lead the hidden shapeshifter at the last moment and instead made her, in an utterly unexpected twist as vapid and 2-dimensional as was ever possible.