80's SF novel, not by a big name.

Set in a feudal interstellar empire of perhaps a hundred worlds. From the point of view of an aristocratic fleet captain who falls in love with his commoner mistress and starts to question the social system. Simultaneously a space cloud/amoeba appears at the fringes of the empire and goes from a rumour to a nuisance to a mortal threat as it begins moving inward, enveloping planets and consuming all life on them.

Our hero falls foul of the emperor and eventually volunteers to lead a suicide fleet to draw the creature out of the kingdom. I have the vague memory of "Fingalan Conspiracy" as the title, but haven't found anything remotely resembling that title.

Added- There is a pretty good chance it was a yellow cover gollancz series circa 1984, but I haven't seen anything similar on the gollancz lists I have seen online (anyone know of a definitive gollancz yellow cover list? - it was pretty much a guarantee of quality).

  • You space amoeba sounds a bit like the "Thread" in the dragonriders of Pern. But I did't actually read the books, they are probably very different in the other respects. Jan 20 '17 at 12:41

You may be thinking of The Fingalnan Conspiracy by John Rankine (pseudonym of Douglas R. Mason). If so, one of these covers may ring a bell. Unfortunately, I know nothing about this book, I'm just going by the title.

  • 1
    Useful. Turns out this is not the book. But it has sparked the memory that I read this pair of books on the same holiday. Amusing that I remember the story of one, and the title of the other. PS good work tracking down the title - I did try!
    – MartinB
    Jan 20 '17 at 5:22
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    If you can figure out which edition of The Fingalnan Conspiracy you read (for instance they all have different covers) that you get you pretty close to knowing what year the book you're looking for came out.
    – user14111
    Jan 20 '17 at 7:21

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