Like Nabokov novels, these Dumarest books are often named after their lead female character. So I had been wondering if Technos was the name of one of the gorgeous women with psychic powers that our man Dumarest is always saving from certain death in the first half of these books. (The Grim Reaper always catches up with them in the second half of these books.) In fact, Technos is the name of a planet, a planet of imperialistic technocrats who use biological warfare to extract tribute from other planets. (The sexy girl in this episode is named Elaine, and she isn't a psychic; she just has an eidetic memory. My spell check thinks she has a deistic memory, but trust me on this one.)
The planet Loame is one of Technos's tributaries. Loame has a feudal political and economic structure; the lords (called "Growers") own vast estates and employ hundreds of subordinates who are more or less tied to the land. An early scene suggests that these serfs have to ask permission of their Grower if they want to get married, and the grower can veto their choice of mate.
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After arriving on Loame and getting the lay of the land, Dumarest is told that Elaine of the Marilu Henner memory (a Loamean now on Technos) may know a clue to the whereabouts of Earth. (You'll remember that Dumarest is searching the galaxy for Earth, and that nearly all of the few people of this vast galactic civilization who have heard of Earth consider it a myth.) Like James Bond in Dr. No, Dumarest darkens his skin as a disguise; this way he can pass as a Loamean. Then he takes the place of another man, one who has been selected for the next tribute shipment. (It is a far, far better thing that he does.)
Dumarest is confident in his detective abilities; he does not doubt that he can find a woman he's never met who might be anywhere on a fascistic planet he's never been to. I can't find my own wife when we split up in a grocery store I go to twice a week.
You won't be surprised to hear that Dumarest also gets an opportunity to admire these boobs after meeting Mada while she is slumming. Or that Mada enlists Dumarest in her struggle against Vargas. (The big surprise in Technos is that both Elaine and Mada are alive at the end of the book.)
Vargas has more than one iron in the fire. Like Mada he is getting along in years, and so he's trying to find a healthy young man to transplant his head onto. The job interview for the position of body donor to the would-be dictator of Technos consists of being thrown into a death maze full of traps like moving barbed walls, spiked pits, and genetically engineered monsters. You won't be surprised to hear that our man Dumarest ends up in this death maze, especially if you remember the labyrinths featured in Derai and Toyman. (The aforementioned Dr. No also includes a death maze, as I remember.)
This is another fun Dumarest caper. When they are well-written, I enjoy adventure stories in which a guy has to escape the tyrannical authorities and fight his way out of a death maze, and I find Tubb's writing style quite congenial. Tubb elevates this swashbuckling material by providing all the characters believable inner lives and by indulging in a little sociology and political economy, comparing the modern technocratic urban society on Technos with the feudalistic agrarian society on Loame.
Another thumbs up for E. C. Tubb and Dumarest.