Kirth Gersen, having brought arch-villain Malagate the Woe to justice, sets his sights on Kokor Hekkus, another of the Demon Princes. The name Kokor Hekkus, which means "killing machine" in the language of the planet Thamber, does not refer to Hekkus's own predilection for homicide, but to his fondness for horrific and murderous devices, including the giant robotic executioner that first gained him his nickname.
As a boy, Kirth Gersen survived a raid on his home planet masterminded by five interstellar crime lords known as the Demon Princes. This five-novel sequence recounts his carefully-planned and implacable revenge. In this, the second volume, his target is Kokor Hekkus, better known as the Killing Machine.
All Jack Vance titles in the SFGateway use the author's preferred texts, as restored for the Vance Integral Edition (VIE), an extensive project masterminded by an international online community of Vance's admirers. In general, we also use the VIE titles, and have adopted the arrangement of short story collections to eliminate overlaps.