Trappers of Venus
By Joseph Greene
Summary: The swamps and wildlife of Venus are in trouble, and Tim Buckle has come to enlist the Space Explorers to their aid. Trouble arises, however, soon after Tim lands on Mars: a henchman throws him into the chilly Mars Canal -- an act which means almost certain death to a man who has spent his life in the swamps of Venus. Dig tries to help him, but the dunking made Tim go insane: he and Dig blast off to Venus and leave Ken and Jim stranded.
The henchmen who tried to kill Tim take advantage of the situation and convince the other two Space Explorers that Dig has deserted them for being "space Jonas." Their only choice now, he convinces them, is to resign their commission as Space Explorers throw their lot in with Linton Wells, a rich businessman. Wells wants the two Space Explorers to certify the Venus Kohoolies as being non-intelligent so that he can begin killing them and exporting their skins.
Soon both parties are plunged into danger: when a riot stirred up by Linton Wells' henchmen fails to eliminate Dig and Tim, Linton starts a massive manhunt to find them. Jim and Ken soon find out that they had been duped and rejoin Dig -- but Linton manages to recapture them. Things take a sudden turn for the worse when all Dig, Jim and Ken are caught by the Mist Flower and injected with the flower's fatal venom. Their only choice now is to journey to the intelligent Kohoolies' secret city to be treated by their doctors -- for the fate of all Venus rests upon them!
The following overview was provided by Thayne Harmon, a loyal Dig Allen fan. Thanks a lot!
The forth book in the Dig Allen series takes place mostly on Venus, a place of a hot humid tropical jungle filled with various wildlife. It starts out with a secret meeting on Mars. Dig receives a message to meet Blind Old Dorkasís companion Chips at the edge of Spacemanís Roost, a bad part of town, where criminals and old spacemen find hiding. Dorkas has asked that Dig help a Venusian trapper, Tim Buckle, who has come to Mars to find help to save the Kohoolies, a supposedly intelligent animal of the planet. When they arrive at the shack where Tim is hiding they find that some henchmen have already arrived to convince Tim not to pursue his quest. Tim ends up in a Mars canal with cold water which is deadly to the Venusian trapper who has lived in the steamy jungles most of his life. Chip and Dig rush him to the Starover, Digís ship, where the climate is change to match Venus.
However Tim goes mad with fever and Dig soon finds him self tied up and headed out in space away from Venus because Tim has not made proper corrections. Dig finally convinces Tim to let him lose to make corrections for Venus.
Meanwhile, Digís space buddies Ken and Jim Barry are on the asteroid Eros visiting parents. A Trader named Linton Wells and his son Chuck are trying to get Space Research to send a Space Explorer to the planet Venus to make a report that the Kohoolies are not intelligent so that the Trader Wells Company can mine the furs from the planet and kill the Kohoolies. Ken and Jim contact Dig and are going to meet him on Mars to decide to go or not. They ride in Wells ship to get there only to find that Dig has left them. This has made them space-Jonahs, which are bad luck. Wells through his partner Jud Hanker convinces Ken and Jim to resign there Space Explorers commission and to sign up with Wells. Unbeknownst to them Hanker never sends the resignation so he can use the Space Explorers to make the report on the Kohoolies and have it be valid. For Wells to mine furs on Venus, the planet must be declare ëfreeí by a Space Explorer and a report given to the Space Research Bureau and the World Council.
Dig contacts Wells ship which is headed to Venus to let his friends know that he is alright, but is unable to tell them why he ditch them because Tim will not let him. Chuck Wells, a spoiled brat, over hears and spreads the shame throughout the ship.
Dig and Tim land on Venus, they find Venustown infested with scorpion lizards, with the towns people believing that the trappers Pierre and Peter, friends of Timís, are responsible and have thrown them in jail. The mob spots Tim and Dig and also wants to put them in jail. They notice that Dig is a Space Explorer and Dig is able to talk there way out by promising that Tim will get rid of the scorpions. Tim leads Dig into the forest in search of the Kohoolies who then help rid the town of the scorpions. Gorgon, working for Hanker, still wonít let Pierre and Peter loose.
Tim sets fire to a Trader Wells building, and Dig trying to find out what Tim has done is nearly caught, and falls near the jungleís edge and is dragged into the Jungle by a Kohoolie.
Wells ship lands and Jim and Ken see the Starover. Wells finds out that Tim did not take a bribe and is here, Jim and Ken find out that Dig is here also. The Wells group sets up camp in the jungle and burns the old buildings that are there. Jim and Ken are not allowed to leave.
Dig and the Kohoolie are treed by some big boney pig like animals that were working at knocking the tree down. The Kohoolie jumps out of the tree and leads the beasts off into the jungle where they are trapped by a tree with stinging limbs. Dig sees the burning of the old huts where the Wells camp is, they go to investigate, he sees his friends, but they donít see him. He asks the Kohoolie to help get them out. The Kohoolie gets caught to get into the camp and Jim and Ken take the Kohoolie into their tent. Wells wants his report quickly that they, the Kohoolies, are not intelligent, and so they test the Kohoolie. They take a preliminary signed report to Wells who says he can change it to make it a final report and gives the resignation letter back to Ken, who is confused and mad at the trick. He goes back to the tent where the Kohoolie helps them escape out the back of the tent stealing Wellís briefcase also. They are noticed and are pursued; they get away and meet up with Dig at a stream bank.
They run through the forest and then get caught by the Wells group, where the Kohoolie gets shot. They head back to camp and get caught by a poison mist flower. Chuck and the Space Explorers remain caught as the rest of the group leaves them, as there is no way to get them loose. The Kohoolie survives and revives; He finds the boys in the mist flower and calls for help from other Kohoolies. The Kohoolies come and save them by cutting down the tree that the flower lives in.
The Kohoolies take the boys on a raft down the river to a lake and an island in the middle, their city. The boys go under water to enter the city. The Kohoolies make a cure for the mist flowerís poison and they are cured. The Kohoolie ruler talks with Chuck find out if they can live in peace on Venus. Chuck agrees that the Kohoolies are intelligent and that he will convince his father of it.
They reunite with Chuckís father, at camp, who has had a change of heart and decides to leave Venus. Hanker revolts and takes the briefcase with the signed report and has Gorgon throw them in a shed with scorpion lizards. Chuck jumps in first, saying that they are immune because of the cure for the mist flower; they however are not. Chuckís distraction gives the space explorers the chance they need to rush Hanker and Gorgon; they escape out of the shed closing the door and leaving Hanker and Gorgon in the shed with the scorpion lizards. The shed door crashes open and Hanker and Gorgon come out with the briefcase and bloody hands from being stung by the scorpions. The Kohoolies take them to Kohoolie city to save them. Chuck admits that he has learned something from the space explorers; to care, Wells says they will not hunt here. They have a feast and leave for home the next day.
3 stars out of 5. This is a very enjoyable book. The author did a wonderful job of recreating the hot, tropical and deadly Venusian atmosphere. The book was different from the rest of the series in that this one mainly took place in a tropical jungle and had very little to do with the 23rd century or space travel, but the change of setting was a good one. The only reason I gave this book three stars instead of five was because while this book was good, I thought some of the others in the series were better. In my opinion, it is not the best Dig Allen but it is a good and a very imaginative Dig Allen.
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