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A Judgment of Dragons

Ungrukh Chronicles: Book 1

Phyllis Gotlieb

This novel consists of four novellas: "Son of the Morning", "The King's Dogs", "Nebuchadnezzar", and "A Judgment of Dragons".

The main characters are Khreng and Prandra, members of a race called the Ungrukh, who are leopard-like creatures with reddish fur, paws better adapted for manipulating objects (though no opposable thumbs), sentience, and a high incidence of ESP ability. The latter makes them valuable to the Galactic Federation. Khreng & Prandra, a mated pair, are among the first Ungrunkh to work for GalFed.

In the first story, they run afoul of a time vortex set up by an alien Qumedni in a 19th-century Polish village, and have to defeat it. In the second, while Prandra is getting her ESP-ability tested at GalFed HQ, they are framed for murder. In the third, they attempt to break drug-runners' hold on a planet whose inhabitants are not capable of successfully opposing them. In the fourth, they confront the Qumedni responsible for creating their race (from Earth leopards), and the Qumedni intent on stealing the secret of how sentience is bestowed.

Despite the title, there are no dragons in this book.

Emperor, Swords, Pentacles

Ungrukh Chronicles: Book 2

Phyllis Gotlieb

The young and beloved Emperor Spinel-alpha of the planet Qsaprinel has been taken captive by the allies of his jealous twin brother, whose deformities of birth have left him jealous and scheming for the throne. The Emperor and all his subjects are large crustaceans of a philosophical bent, and there is more to the situation than meets the Emperor's compound eye. A conspiracy revolving around an enigmatic enzyme found in the bodies of the Qsaprinli and the rumors of an illegal human colony hidden somewhere on the world's single continent has entangled the planet; on the Emperor's request, it falls to Dun Kinnear, Sector Co-ordinator and class-two ESP and Khreng and Prandra's daughter Emerald and her lover Raanung, to untangle the mystery and defend Qsaprinel from its attackers.

This is not a direct sequel to A Judgement of Dragons, as it can be read without any prior knowledge of Gotlieb's world, but fans of the earlier novel will enjoy the reappearance of familiar characters and races.

The Kingdom of the Cats

Ungrukh Chronicles: Book 3

Phyllis Gotlieb

In the last of the GalFed-commissioned chronicles of the Ungrukh, Emerald and Raanung's daughter Bren faces murder and terrorism in the most unlikely of places: Sol Three's Grand Canyon. A group of Ungrukh had agreed to come to Earth, where their mental abilities and physical structure could be studied by resident scientists, but while they were prepared for hostility, they did not expect a massacre.

There were only four survivors: Bren; her twin siblings Tugrik and Orenda; and a shy loner named Etrem whose panther-black pelt had made him an outcast among his tribe. While Emerald and Raanung continue to realize Khreng's dream of a unified Ungruwarkh, no longer split up into warring tribes and hereditary feuds, Bren and Etrem struggle to avenge the murder of their kin. With the help of a GalFed telepath and a Pueblo shaman, they are successful in finding the killer -- but things become suddenly uncertain when Qumedni, the mischievous energy being who created the Ungrukh from Terran leopards and regards them as his own, decides to step in and lend a hand.