“Shannach—The Last” by Leigh Brackett

Honestly, I shouldn’t have read “Shannach—The Last.” I didn’t have time, and it was clearly too long for the Baen anthology.

But that opening paragraph—

“It was dark in the caves under Mercury. It was hot, and there was no sound in them but the slow plodding of Trevor’s heavy boots.”

—grabbed me, and suddenly I was all the way through the story.

“Shannach—The Last” is a bracing adventure story. It deals with Brackett’s favorite themes of lost races and dying peoples and shady characters.

I had no idea how the story would all end up, and there were moments where I was reading with one eye open, and my face averted. I had to keep reading, but I didn’t want the characters to go through what they were going through, and oh, wow. Wonderful stuff.

Found in The Best of Leigh Brackett, edited by Edmond Hamilton, Nelson Doubleday, 1977.

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