This is the story of young Maximillian Jones. Impelled by a bad family situation, inspired by a revered astrophysicist uncle (Chester Arthur Jones), befriended by an enterprising rogue conman (Sam), and aided by his own photographic memory, Max rises from rags to riches to captain the Starship Asgard, and lead her home to Earth safely. An engaging story, now my second favorite Heinlein novel, it is cohesive and exciting. I especially like Heinlein's future vision of the Ring Road, a high-speed mass transit system, propelled as it passes through a series of electromagnetic rings. Also, we get an interesting glimpse into an alter-intelligent civilization on planet Charity, where "primitive" centaur-like creatures attempt to enslave the stranded Earthlings.
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