The Battle for the Sword of Bale
Drs. Stan and Elsa Mercer learn that the peaceful coexistence of the human and the primitive populations of the Quad Consortium is threatened when Tokal announces his intention to retire as president of the Grand Council. Despite Stan's innate impulse to avoid becoming involved in any sort of political conflict, they felt obliged to return to Bale, the coldest planet in the Consortium, when their friend Tokal asked for their help in keeping the Sword of Bale from getting into the hands of those who would use its power to gain control of the Consortium.
As they attempt to save the Sword of Bale, they realize that they must deal not only with an ambitious and callous government official but also with his prior nemesis, Nathan Taylor, the former president of the Grand Council who has escaped from life imprisonment on the distant red-dwarf-star planet, Planet 1251. Nathan, who had previously experienced the power of the Sword of Bale, is determined to possess it, no matter the cost. At the same time, Stan and Elsa must protect Tokal and his daughter, Roval, from Tokal's own son, Naril, who believes he is the rightful heir of the Sword of Bale and its power, and who is willing to kill to attain it.