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Jo Clayton

A Bait of Dreams


Jo Clayton

Three unlikely heroes fight to save their planet from a deadly plague in this thrilling space opera set in Jo Clayton's beloved Diadem universe.

No one on the barbarian planet Jaydugar knows where the hypnotically beautiful Ranga Eye gems came from, but everyone who encounters them pays a terrible price. These magic alien crystals, so smooth and pleasing to the touch, provide the holder with an extraordinary sense of peace and joy, causing them to see and experience wondrous, enchanting things. But the need for the visions the Ranga Eye provides quickly becomes an addiction that eats away at the soul and ultimately leads to a horrible, drawn-out death.

An exquisite embroiderer, Gleia has pined for independence and true purpose throughout her life of servitude. She finds both when she manages to buy her freedom and sets out to locate and obliterate the sparkling, druglike scourge that ripped a devastating hole in her personal world.

On a quest fraught with peril across a treacherous landscape of slavers, brigands, and mercenary aliens, Gleia's path will intertwine with those of the enigmatic, long-lived juggler Shounach--a perplexing, often infuriating rogue born off-world three centuries earlier to intergalactic adventurer Aleytys--and young Deel the Dancer, both of whom have suffered tragic, life-altering loss as a result of the terrible, beautiful jewels.

Now the fate of the entire planet depends upon three unlikely champions locating the source of the sparkling plague and destroying the gems forever. But in a world of uncertainty and ever-present danger will they even survive to reach their journey's end, and once there, can they resist the irresistible fatal seduction of the deadly Ranga Eyes?

Accomplished world-builder Jo Clayton returns to the galaxy she so brilliantly brought to life in her sensational Diadem Saga, once again seamlessly blending science fiction and high fantasy in an epic, thrill-packed quest adventure that confirms her position among C. J. Cherryh, Alan Dean Foster, Andre Norton, and other speculative fiction greats.

Table of Contents:

  • A Bait of Dreams - (1979) - novelette
  • Interlude Among the Shaborn - (1985) - short fiction
  • A Thirst For Broken Water - (1979) - novella
  • Southwind My Mother - (1980) - novella
  • Companioning - (1980) - novella
  • Currents - (1985) - novella
  • Old Acquaintances and New - (1985) - novella

Diadem from the Stars

Diadem: Book 1

Jo Clayton


Far out among the stars the masterminds of the spider people had placed their mightiest mysteries in the scientific device called the diadem. And when that coronet was stolen, they were prepared to pursue it throughout eternity.

The thief crashed among the nomads of Jaydugar, a semi-barbarian world... and the diadem found its way into the hands - and onto the skull - of the girl Aleytys.

She was herself a strange one - daughter of a sky wanderer, outcast among the people who had raised her out of fear and awe. And the diadem was to prove both her bane and her treasure. For she could not remove it once it had sunk its electronic web into her brain and her nervous system - and she did not know how to control the powers that were contained within it.

Yet every moment she wore it, she would be a target for the vengeance of the spider race and the avarice of a thousand worlds.


Diadem: Book 2

Jo Clayton

The diadem that crowned the head of Aleytys was in contact with her central nervous system - and invisible to outsiders. But even that star-born fugitive herself did not know what the diadem's powers were or what it could do to or for her.


Diadem: Book 3

Jo Clayton

Sold into slavery to an insectoid race, Aleytys had been chosen as proxy-mother to the old Queen's successor. In short, she would be both bearer and food. But Aleytys was the wearer of the Diadem, a creation of galactic science that linked her nervous system to powers of great potency.


Diadem: Book 4

Jo Clayton

Aleytys, wanderer of the skies, seekr of the home planet of her mother's super-race, is on Maeve, a forest planet of tree dwellers and semi-humans. Her quest is to shake her pursuers and find her mother--and escape the pitfalls of Maeve alive.

Star Hunters

Diadem: Book 5

Jo Clayton

This vibrant heroine and the powers of the Diadem. For on the world to which it conveyed her, she must confront not only the hordes of half-humans who are devastating the planet but meet head-on the mental force of a madman of her own ancestral race. It is an encounter on several levels - human, inhuman, and superhuman - and she must triumph on all or lose everything.

The Nowhere Hunt

Diadem: Book 6

Jo Clayton

The Nowhere Hunt was a quest every Hunter refused. Only Aleytys, wearer-slave of the mysterious and powerful Diadem would dare try to slip unseen past starship battalions and land on a world encased in a cosmic shield which rendered all electronic equipment functionless. Avoiding poisonous flora, hostile natives, vicious predators and murderous ransomers, her job was to rescue and transport a massive, semi-intelligent insect queen off planet and save the queen's besieged race from extinction.... A seemingly impossible task, but one Aleytys could not refuse, for she had been offered in payment something she desperatley needed to continue her own personal quest...


Diadem: Book 7

Jo Clayton

A ghost was haunting Cazarit. A kidnapper who snatched the wealthy clientelle who vacationed there as if the intensive security didn't exist. Local security was getting desperate--after hundreds of hours and days trying to locate and identify their "ghost" they were no closer to an answer than when they began. They needed the help of a Hunter. And there was only one who would meet their demands. Aleytys, wearer/symbiote of the mysterious and powerful Diadem, had a reputation which preceded her across the galaxy. But little did they know that Aleytys already had a good idea who their ghost was, and didn't want to catch him!

The Snares of Ibex

Diadem: Book 8

Jo Clayton

Aleytys had searched for her mother across the worlds of the inhabited galaxy. Her mother was of a super-race; her homeworld's location a secret. But Aleytys had become an expert star hunter, alert to clues and wary of danger--and she knew that on Ibex her ancestral trail must reach its end. But Ibex was an unmapped world banned to outsiders--save for one encircled city. To venture beyond that enclave meant death, for the many alien native tribes were united only in their lust to slay all other-worlders. All the Snares of Ibex awaited Aleytys beyond the wall--but dare she must if her life was to have any future meaning.

Quester's Endgame

Diadem: Book 9

Jo Clayton

Across the years and through endless star systems, Aleytys had searched for her mother Shareem and for her long-denied heritage - the chance to claim her rightful place as a member of the nearly immortal super-race, the Vrya. Now, at last, Aleytys was about to rendezvous with Shareem for a journey to the secret homeworld of her people.

But even at Aleytys' moment of triumph, she faced her deadliest challenge. For on Vrithian waited Kell, blood enemy, mastermind of treachery, who held an entire planet hostage in fear, and who would not rest until he'd destroyed Aleytys and any who dared ally with her...

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