From the opening reared a head, wide, flat, huge. Below it stretched a body beautiful with iridescent scales of gold edged with ruby. Nictitating membranes lifted over enormous eyes, deep, limpid pools of ancient wisdom, catching and reflecting the light of the miniature sun, turning the glowing orb into a scatter of stars shimmering in an ebon sea. From open jaws a forked tongue flickered with a soft susurration. Its scent was dry, acrid, tinged with that of living fur on a summer's day. The head rose higher, swaying over the three men on the ledge, the sinuous length of the body almost filling the passage through which it had come. From it radiated an impression of incredible age.
"A serpent," whispered Thagamista. "A creature from the beginning of time. Somehow surviving to find this place and feast on those who dwell here. It was inevitable they should think it a god."
Edwin Charles Tubb (1919–2010) was a British writer of science fiction, fantasy and western novels. The author of over 140 novels and 230 short stories and novellas, Tubb is best known for The Dumarest Saga (US collective title: Dumarest of Terra) an epic science-fiction saga set in the far future. Michael Moorcock wrote "His reputation for fast-moving and colourful SF writing is unmatched by anyone in Britain."
Much of Tubb's work has been written under pseudonyms including Charles Grey, Carl Maddox, Alan Guthrie, Eric Storm and George Holt. He has used more than 50 pen names over five decades of writing although some of these were publishers' house names also used by other writers: Volsted Gridban (along with John Russell Fearn), Gill Hunt (with John Brunner and Dennis Hughes), King Lang (with George Hay and John W. Jennison), Roy Sheldon (with H. J. Campbell) and Brian Shaw.
E. C. Tubb. Wikipedia.