Cover image for The Ringworld throne
The Ringworld throne
Niven, Larry.
Personal Author:
First Mass Market edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Ballantine Books, 1997.

Physical Description:
355 pages ; 18 cm
General Note:
"A Del Rey book."
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Mass Market Paperback Popular Materials-Science Fiction/Fantasy

On Order



Come back to the Ringworld . . . the most astonishing feat of engineering ever encountered. A place of untold technological wonders, home to a myriad humanoid races, and world of some of the most beloved science fiction stories ever written!

The human, Louis Wu; the puppeteer known as the Hindmost; Acolyte, son of the Kzin called Chmeee . . . legendary beings brought together once again in the defense of the Ringworld.

Something is going on with the Protectors. Incoming spacecraft are being destroyed before they can reach the Ringworld. Vampires are massing. And the Ghouls have their own agenda--if anyone dares approach them to learn.

Each race on the Ringworld has always had its own Protector. Now it looks as if the Ringworld itself needs a Protector. But who will sit on the Ringworld Throne?

"Niven's work has been an intriguing and consistent universe, and this book is the keystone of the arch. . . . [His] technique is wonderfully polished, his characters and their situations are nicely drawn . . . wraps up (maybe) a corner of a very interesting universe."-- San Diego Union-Tribune

Author Notes

Larry Niven received his B.A. in mathematics in 1962. His first novel, World of Ptavvs (1966), was a success and launched his career. Niven has won five Hugos and one Nebula award, testimony that his colleagues in the science fiction world respect his work. Perhaps Niven's most well-known creation is Ringworld, a distant planet that may be taken as a metaphor for Earth, as it was once great but has since fallen into decay.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Another sequel to Ringworld (1970) is cause for celebration. The year is 2882, and something ominous is happening on Ringworld, the 600-million-mile artifact encircling a sunlike star 250 million light-years from Earth. Incoming spacecraft are being destroyed, the predatory humanoids known as vampires are breeding in alarming numbers, and the Ringworld Protectors, who normally stick to their own kind, are at war with other species. Enter Louis Wu, the 200-year-old human scientist who discovered Ringworld and has been sailing its oceans since saving it from almost certain destruction some time ago. Assisted by his faithful puppeteer and "kzin" sidekicks, Wu makes investigations that lead to the uncomfortable conclusion that Ringworld may need a single Protector chief to solve its problems--a position for which Wu becomes an unwilling candidate. The story suffers occasionally from having too many characters and hardly equals the fascination of its predecessors, but any addition to Niven's famous series should attract plenty of readers. --Carl Hays

Publisher's Weekly Review

An honored SF writer returns to his best-known creation: the artificial world, built far from Earth by aliens over a half million years ago, in the form of a ring 600 million miles in diameter, hosting an astonishing multitude of inhabitants and cultures. This third fictional voyage to the Ringworld (after Ringworld, 1970, which won both the Hugo and the Nebula for best SF novel of that year, and Ringworld Engineers, 1980) offers two stories crowded into one. A motley array of hominid inhabitants are seeking to defeat a plague of vampires. Meanwhile, returning hero Louis Wu is battling what effectively is a plague of Protectors (superbeings common to many Niven novels) whose rivalries threaten Ringworld's existence. The battle against the vampires is the more exciting of the two stories, filled with action, scenes of the Ringworld and explorations of ritualistic interspecies sex. Wu's pursuit of the Protectors displays Niven's deft hand at portraying aliens, but the dialogue that fills in the backstory slows the narrative. Niven still ranks near the top of the SF field, but this outing is likely to satisfy determined Ringworld fans more than other readers. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Vampires gather, the Protectors interfer with other species, and someone is destroying incoming spacecraft, forcing Louis Wu to return to become Ringworld's Central Protector. The glossary, cast of characters, and Ringworld parameters orient new readers to the series (Ringworld and The Ringworld Engineers). Highly recommended for sf collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Excerpt: Chapter One: A WAR OF SCENTS A.D. 2892 Cloud covered the sky like a gray stone plate. The yellow grass had a wilted look: too much rain, not enough sun. No doubt the sun was straight overhead and the Arch was still in place, but Valavirgillin hadn't seen either for twenty days now. The cruisers rolled through an endless drizzle, through high grass, on wheels as tall as a man. Vala and Kay rode the steering bench; Barok rode above them as gunner. Barok's daughter Forn was asleep under an awning. Any day now--any hour-- Sabarokaresh pointed. "Is that what you've been looking for?" Valavirgillin stood up in her seat. She could just see where the vastness of grass turned to a vastness of stubble. Kaywerbrimmis said, "They leave this pattern. We'll be seeing sentries or a harvesting party. Boss, I don't understand how you knew they'd be Grass Giants here. I've never been this far to starboard myself. You, you're from Center City? That's a hundred daywalks to port." "Word came to me," Valavirgillin said. He didn't ask more. A merchant's secrets were her own. They rolled into the stubble and turned. The cruisers rolled faster now. Stubble to right, shoulder-high grass to the left. Far ahead, birds were wheeling and diving. Big dark birds: scavengers. Kaywerbrimmis touched his handguns for reassurance. Muzzle-loading, the barrels as long as his forearm. Big Sabarokaresh eased back into the turret. The top of the payload shell housed the cannon, and that might be needed. The other wagons were swinging left and right, covering Kay's wagon so that he could investigate in safety. The birds wheeled away. They'd left black feathers everywhere. Twenty big birds, gorged until they could hardly fly. What might feed so many? Bodies. Little hominids with pointy skulls, lying some in stubble, some in uncut grass, stripped of most of their meat. Hundreds! They might have been children, but the children among them were even smaller. Vala looked for clothing. In strange terrain you never knew which hominids might be intelligent. Sabarokaresh dropped to earth, gun in hand. Kaywerbrimmis hesitated; but nothing sudden popped out of the grass, and he followed. Foranayeedli popped a sleepy head through the window and gaped. She was a girl of sixty falans or so, just reaching mating age. "Since last night," Kay said presently. The smell of corruption wasn't strong yet. If Ghouls hadn't arrived before the birds, then these victims must have been slain near dawn. Vala asked, "How did they die? If this is local Grass Giant practice, we want none of it." "This could've been done by birds. Cracked bones, see? But cracked by big beaks, for marrow. These are Gleaners, Boss. See, this is how they dress, in feathers. They follow the harvesters. The Gleaners hunt smeerps, firedots, anything that digs. Cutting the grass exposes the burrows." --Feathers, right. These feathers were black and red and purple-green, not just black. "So what happened here?" Forn said, "I know that smell." Beneath the corruption: what? Something familiar, not itself unpleasant ... but it made Foranayeedli uneasy. Valavirgillin had hired Kaywerbrimmis to lead the caravan because he was local, because he seemed competent. The rest were his people. None had ever been this far to starboard. Vala knew more of this place than any of them ... if she was right about where she was. "Well, where are they?" "Watching us, maybe," Kay said. Vala could see a long way from her perch at the bow of the cruiser. The veldt was flat, the yellow grass was chopped short. Grass Giants stood seven and eight feet tall. Where grass stood half their height, could they hide in that? The traders pulled their cruisers into a triangle. Their midday dinner was fruit and roots from stores on the running boards. They cooked some local grass with the roots. They'd caught no fresh meat. They took their time. Most hominids were more approachable after feeding. If Grass Giants thought like Machine People, they would let strangers eat before they made contact. No ambassador came. The caravan rolled on. Three cruisers rolled sluggishly across the veldt with no animal to pull them. Big square wooden platforms rode four wheels at the corners; the motor, centered aft, turned two more drive wheels. The cast-iron payload shell rode ahead of the motor, like an iron house with a fat chimney. Big leaf springs were under the bow, under the steering bench. A savage might wonder at the tower on the payload housing, but what would he think if he had never seen a cannon? Harmless. Shapes the color of the golden grass, shapes too big to be men: two big humanoids watched from the crest of a far hill. Vala saw them only when one turned and loped away across the veldt. The other ran along the crest, toward where the cruisers would cross. He waited in their path, watching them come. He was nearly the color of the golden grass: golden skin, golden mane. Big. Armed with a great curved sword. Kaywerbrimmis walked to meet the giant. Valavirgillin set the cruiser following him like a friendly ridebeast. Distance put strange twists in the trade dialect. Kaywerbrimmis had tried to teach Vala some of the variations in pronunciation, new words and altered meanings. She listened now, trying to make out what Kay was saying. "We come in peace ... intend to trade ... Farsight Trading ... rishathra?" The giant's eyes flicked back and forth while Kay talked. Back and forth between their jaws, Forn and Vala and Kay and Barok. The giant was amused. His face was hairier than any Machine Person's! Pretty Forn's jawline fringe of beard just growing, just long enough to take a curl at the corners. Vala's was turning elegantly white, two points at the chin. Other hominids were too often distracted by Machine People beards, especially on the women. The giant waited out Kay's chattering, then strode past him and took a seat on the cruiser's running board. He leaned against the payload shell and immediately jerked away from the hot metal. Recovered his dignity and waved the cruiser forward. Big Barok held his post above the giant. Forn climbed up beside her father. She was tall, too, but the giant made them both look stunted. Kaywerbrimmis asked, "Your camp, that way?" The giant's dialect was less comprehensible. "Yes. Come. You want shelter. We want warriors." "How do you practice rishathra?" It was the first thing any trader would want to know, and any beta male, too, if these were like Grass Giants elsewhere. The giant said, "Come quick, else learn too much of rishathra." "What?" "Vampires." Forn's eyes widened. "That smell!" Kay smiled, seeing not a threat, but an opportunity. "I am Kaywerbrimmis. Here are Valavirgillin, my patron, and Sabarokaresh and Foranayeedli. In the other cruisers they are Machine People, too. We hope to persuade you to join our Empire." "I am Paroom. Our leader you must address as Thurl." Vala let Kay do the talking. Grass Giant sword-scythes had too little reach. Farsight Trading's guns would make short work of a vampire attack. That should impress the Bull, and then--business. Grass Giants, scores of them, were pulling wagons filled with grass through the gap in a wall of heaped earth. "This isn't normal," Kaywerbrimmis said. "Grass Giants don't build walls." Paroom heard. "We had to learn. Forty-three falans ago the Reds were fighting us. We learned walls from them." Forty-three falans was 430 rotations of the star patterns, where the sky rotated every seven and a half days. In forty falans Valavirgillin had made herself rich, had mated, had carried four children, then gambled her wealth away. These last three falans she had been traveling. Forty-three falans was a long time. She asked or tried to ask, "Was that when the clouds came?" "Yes, when the old Thurl boiled a sea." Yes! This was the place she sought. Kaywerbrimis shrugged it off as local superstition. "How long have you had vampires?" Paroom said, "Always there are some. In this last few falans, suddenly they are everywhere, more every night. This morning we found nearly two hundred Gleaners, all dead. Tonight they will hunger again. The walls and our crossbows hold them back. Here," said the sentry, "bring your wagons through the gap and prepare them to fight." They had crossbows ? And the light was going. Excerpted from The Ringworld Throne by Larry Niven All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.