Looking for a book I read in the 90's (not sure if it was published in the 90's or not).

The story as far as I can remember goes like this. Human-looking aliens evolve on a very hostile planet. They encounter some big bad threat and they cast about for help. They encounter a rich industrialist on Earth and they send a woman to recruit him. She teaches the guy to use magic and how to transform his body. They build a ship and travel to her planet but just before they arrive, she vanishes and he crash lands on this hostile planet.

He goes through many trials and tribulations in order to get to her and eventually he has enough and uses the ability she teaches him on how to transform his body. He transforms himself into a half-man, half-dragon-like creature which allows him to travel to the other side of the planet to get to the girl. On the way he manages to neurally link into a large flying creature that flies very fast, only to discover that it is intelligent and they soon become friends. When he gets to the girl she doesn't recognise him so he gets mad and starts attacking only to realise that it's all been a test set up by these people to allow him to reach higher levels of magic.

There were supposed to be sequels but I never got around to reading them.

I remember the cover art depicted a large dragon like creature with a torso of a man and a woman standing in front of it looking back at him.

Any idea what this book may be?

  • 2
    Hi there! :) that's already a lot of good info, but maybe you could take a look at this guide on what to say in a story-ID question, see if that triggers any more memories you could edit into the question? For instance, what language did you read it in? Was it the original language or may it have been a translation?
    – Jenayah
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 9:27
  • Sounds like a fun read. Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 18:53
  • Waah! Emergence was republished last month, including as an ebook. (Another book by David R. Palmer)
    – mkennedy
    Commented Jul 28, 2018 at 18:39

1 Answer 1


Threshold, by David Palmer, published 1985.

  • The Isi are humanoid and come from a very hostile planet.

  • Rich industrialist on Earth, check: Peter Cory.

  • Magic, transformations, crash landing, dragonoid form, friendly large flying creature, setup, all check. Your description is remarkably accurate for a book you read so long ago!

  • There were indeed supposed to be sequels, but unfortunately they have yet to be published.

This would appear to be the cover you're remembering:

Threshold front cover

  • Pinterest isn't the best source to link to because they require you to have an account so I've added an inline image but also left the link alone.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 10:18
  • @TheLethalCarrot, huh, I don't have an account and the link works for me. Might be using geotracking, I suppose. Thanks. Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 10:21
  • 2
    Sometimes works, sometimes doesn't, either way the image in the post makes it easier :)
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 10:22
  • Currently available from Amazon/Ring of Fire Press at: amazon.com/THRESHOLD-David-Palmer-ebook/dp/B07KCKNZ72/…
    – jmoreno
    Commented Mar 3, 2019 at 23:00

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