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Some boxes of my book collection were stolen in a recent move. One book I realized wasn't in my index (and was looking to reread) was one about a planet surveyor who is hired to undergo a type of bio-forming by a extremely rich space mogul. The process is performed in secret at the employer's estate. The surveyor runs into the mogul's beautiful yet immature and rebellious daughter who decides she's interested.

The now bio-formed surveyor heads out to this inhospitable and remote planet where he discovers the planet is an impossibly rich treasure trove of resources. He is supposed to send back samples and reports via a routine shuttle visit. He attempts to hide what the planet really is and keep them from ruining what he has. Always a loner, he's reveling in his new form and "kingdom".

Physically he's now extremely strong with golden skin and reddish hair. He has a bit of a mountain man vibe to him/Robinson Crusoe by design. Into his little garden of Eden comes, eventually, the daughter. She's blackmailed/tantrumed her way through the same bio-forming processes and "chased the one that got away" down. Initially resentful of her intrusion, he later develops feelings for her and she in turn for him from her initial shallow infatuation and ire at being turned down by him back home.

Other bits and pieces:

  • He fashions a spear and fights a crocodile-type creature whose hide he learns to cure/process into clothing.

  • They realize they can never return home and will likely be killed when the father has what he wants.

  • There is a native people inhabiting the planet.

  • The richness of the planet is discovered.

  • The method the father intended to kill them with is turned back on him and the hero seems delighted that they were, "hoist on their own petard."

I REALLY hope someone recognizes this, I've been looking for it daily for over a month now.

Thank you in advance!

  • I would like to read this, I hope it gets solved. – Organic Marble Aug 17 '17 at 20:58
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    You've included a lot of details about the story, but what might help someone track this down is some idea of the age: when did you read this, and do you have any idea of when it was published? – Martha Aug 17 '17 at 21:52
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Well, after hitting my head through enough walls to throw out that Hail Mary question earlier today, I buckled down and finished my 1960's lists and started working Google returns on sci-fi of the 70's. Luckily, 1973 was paydirt and I found the cover for John T. Philliefent's King of Argent, published by DAW Books inc.

They told John Lampart that he would have to have his entire bodily metabolism altered to survive on Argent.

Because that unknown planet was his most valuable find, he agreed.

He landed on Argent, golden-skinned and different. He had expected to find himself on a barren world, destined for two years of hard work. But Argent had life of its own of a different kind, weird, wild and endlessly challenging.

Not the least challenge to him was the discovery that his Earthly bosses regarded him as expendable - his work would end in his death while they got rich.

KING OF ARGENT is a novel of a man against a fantastically strange planet - and of the girl who dared to intervene.

It's much newer than I thought it was; it'd seemed older when I read it back in the 80's. :)

Never give up I guess. Even if you have to pull book publishing lists a year at a time and walk through a couple decades worth. It's good to know I'll be able to replace it pretty cheap; I already found a couple on Amazon.

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    Excellent! In about 42 hours, you will be able to accept your own answer, and we highly encourage you to do so. I added a blurb from Goodreads just to provide more keywords for if someone else is searching for it. – FuzzyBoots Aug 18 '17 at 2:45

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