Originally published in a magazine as a four-part serial in 1950–51. First publication in book form as two separate volumes: The Search for Zei (1962) and The Hand of Zei (1963). A restored text bringing both segments back together was published in 1981.
Dick Barnevelt knew he wasn't a hero, but somebody has to find the explorer who'd vanished on the low-tech planet, Krisha. And to do that, somebody had to single-handedly rescue a beautiful princess from bloodthirsty pirates. And to do that, somebody had to lead the fleet against an impregnable fortress, while fending off a superior navy. And whoever managed all that was going to be a hero – whether he knew it or not!