A Gathering of Stars (Book Two of the Mechanical Sky) by Donald Moffitt

By Donald Moffitt

The formidable Sultan of Alpha Centauri can in simple terms declare the illustrious identify of Caliph if he makes a ritual pilgrimage to the holy urban of Mecca. This trip accomplished, he'll rule the whole inhabitants of the higher Islamic universe. yet human wisdom has no longer but been in a position to triumph over the numerous demanding situations provided via interplanetary shuttle. in spite of the fact that, the Sultan resourcefully enlists assistance from Abdul Hamid-Jones, a smart fugitive with a value on his head and the legislation on his heels. Thrown into the bewildering global of the Sultan's schemes, Abdul gets a hasty advent to advanced physics and the much more complicated political intrigues of the Sultan's courtroom. liable for the winning execution of the Sultan's plan, Abdul slowly realizes with horror that the destiny of the complete sunlight method might be resting on his shoulders.

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Musa gazed steadily at Hamid-Jones. "Some of our information came from a drunken engineer," he said. " Hamid-Jones's face went white. " he said. " Musa said gently. " Hamid-Jones choked. " Hamid-Jones snatched at straws. "But the Sultan's been sup-porting your group—all the other mujahidin groups—in the hope of unseating the Emir and putting al-Sharq on the throne. Setting him up to become a Centauran satrap. " "Or maybe," Tawfiq put in, "the flyby is his ace in the hole in case all his political machinations don't work out.

He never visits my bedroom anymore—he's either out drinking or shut up with his computer. I'm a passionate woman! " Aziz—with a little help from the intelligence files of the Chris-tian Jihad—had filled him in on that, too. Mrs. Awad needed a lot of consoling. Hamid-Jones would not be the first, or even the twentieth. "All you have to do is keep bumping into her when she goes shopping," Aziz had coached him. "Follow her around like a starved dog. It won't hurt to roll your eyes a lot, either. Try to look as if you're in pain.

They were three beetle-browed men in dun-colored tunics and the red-checkered turbans of Sabians. The Subbi, as Sabians were called by proper Moslems, had some sort of semiautonomous enclave on an air-less moon of one of the gas giants of the orange star, and there had been recent nationalist stirrings among a disaffected few that the Sultan was attempting to quell by funneling more finan-cial aid through the ruling elders. The three men began whis-pering among themselves again before the outer door had closed behind them.

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