Maske: Thaery, a stand-alone novel by Jack Vance. On the planet Maske, young Jubal Droad leaves home to make his fortune. On the road for just a short time, Jubal discovers he has a natural instinct for attracting danger. A bloodlusting Thariot almost murders the young man for careless sport, but Jubal survives, and vows to avenge himself when he achieves his fortune. He attaches himself to the powerful court of Nai the Hever and is made an interplanetary economic spy - recruited into D-3, and underground intelligence corps. Jubal also courts Mieltrude, the cold-blooded, beautiful daughter of the house and becomes the rival and enemy of the brutal Ramus Ymph (that young Thariot he had encountered on the road.) In disguise, Jubal leaves the planet and proves Ramus's connection to a sinister interplanetary cartel that covets a foothold on Maske. He pursues Ramus and finds him among the Waels, a strange people who worship intelligent trees. It is the trees who determine the outcome of their confrontation. This has the quirkiness, sophistication, and irony one has come to expect from Vance.