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...or something like that. He's on a prison planet in a mining camp, and they don't feed them enough to have the energy to escape.

So he kills the dwarf because it takes the least amount of energy. Then he eats the dwarf's food and then kills the next easiest victim, eating his food as well.

Eventually he gets enough energy to escape.

It's a SF novel from the 70's or 80's. Someone relatively famous. The main character's name might be Jack.

The mining dust gets caked on their skin and won't come off - turning everything into a gray or brown. When he finally escapes, it's into the arms of someone he owes money to, or something similar. Main character is a major alpha male.

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The book you're looking for is Armor by John Steakley, written in 1984. The plot segment you're remembering is the from the start of the second section, where Jack Crow is stuck in a mining camp.

From the wikipedia link "Jack, having been imprisoned, is successful in an escape attempt, permits him to reach the ship of a mutineer and deserter from the Antwar named Borglyn."

As for the major alpha male, you're remembering Felix and the time he spent on Banshee. The protagonist is Felix, an enlistee who's been given "scout" duty on an alien planet in the seemingly endless Antwar...

After 19 drops on Banshee, Felix has learned that he is an almost unstoppable warrior.

We even have a tag for it , though it has limited questions.

This book is brilliant and should be read by everyone. Preferably now.

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  • Thank you very much! It has been driving me crazy! – swamp40 May 5 '16 at 18:57
  • Welcome to the site, Ross! Great first contribution. – user32390 May 7 '16 at 5:30

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