The Wannek is part 2 of 4 of Tschai.
Tschai is a planet orbiting the star Carina 4269, 212 light-years from Earth. It is populated by three alien, mutually hostile species; the displaced, native Pnume; and various human races, some of whom live as slaves or clients of the aliens. Each of the four novels relates Reith's adventures with one of the species, and is named after that species.
Cover art by David Russell
About the Author
California native Jack Vance (1916-2013) was one of the greats of science fiction. He was the author of dozens of sci-fi books and fantasy novels, including the popular Lyonesse and Dying Earth series and the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning book The Last Castle. In 1997, he was honored as a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America. He died in Oakland, California.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This second book of Adventure Planet series is another entertaining yarn from the inimitable Jack Vance. The first two thirds of the book is a travel story; the last third hinges on the protagonist's efforts to steal a spaceship that will return him to Earth. Servants of the Wankh is not formulaic tripe; this becomes quite obvious early in the book when the love interest pulls out a knife, starts stabbing people, and then throws herself to the sharks. Like many of Vance's other protagonists, Reith is a cynical hero who faces danger and deception (and at times makes mistakes). He's not particularly likable, but he does get things done. The planet and societies and mysteries of Tschai are the real stars here. You've got several competing alien races, each convinced of their own innate superiority, and many with evolved-human servants (i.e., thousands of years ago, at least one of the starfaring races must have stopped by earth to "recruit" some domestic servants). The titular Wankh (changed to Wannek is some British versions to avoid an unfortunate connotation) are a powerful, mysterious race who rarely interact directly with the inferior other species (think Vorlons and you won't be far off). Add mysterious aboriginal races, and you've got a very broad canvas for Vance's imagination.