|Mandarin paperback, 1990. Cover illustration by Michael Whelan.|
"They named him Thorn. They told him he was of their people but he knew he was different: he was ugly in their eyes, strange, sleek-skinned and clawless. Yet he was hatani, a member of the élite power class that were judge warriors fighters and defenders.
Thorn knew that his difference was somehow very important - but not important enough to prevent murderous conspiracies against him, against his protector, against his caste, and, perhaps, against the peace of the world. When Thorn finally learned what his true role in life was to be - that on him hung the fate of two worlds - then he had to stand alone to justify his very existence."