I read it in the 80's. Cover had a person in a spacesuit standing in a river of lava. On the shore was some sort of alien critter(s). Think perhaps this was inside a cave?

Premise of the book was a group of people were decimating planets for some unknown reason. Main character (?Bron?) was "imprinted" with the memories/behaviors of a person the "ravengers" would want to abduct. Main character was in contact with remote "handlers" who could communicate with him and assist via implants. One of the controllers was a woman called or nicknamed JC.

Ended up that aliens in the far distant past were sending sub-light "bombs" to destroy the planets which took eons to finally show up and deliver their payload.

There was also some sort of prognosticating going on -- the main character was imprinted with the memory of one of the main teacher/leader/something of this technology.

Final explanation is that the aliens foresaw that humans would one day visit their planet, and in a fit of xenophobia decided to try to destroy the humans. Main character figured this out and then backtracked to the aliens home world. When humans showed up, the race had degenerated back into savagery.

  • Hi, welcome to SF&F! This is a well-written question, but just in case the prompts can help you remember anything else, you should check out the suggestions for story-id questions and see if there's anything else you can edit into your question.
    – DavidW
    Mar 16, 2021 at 21:18
  • 1
    I have heard this one before... Pretty sure I have seen it answered here also... Aliens from distant past sending bombs to destroy civilizations many light years away to prevent them becoming a threat in the future. Maybe "Chaos" in the title.
    – NJohnny
    Mar 16, 2021 at 22:05
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    @NJohnny maybe this one? scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/241989/… Mar 16, 2021 at 23:41

1 Answer 1


The Patterns of Chaos by Colin Kapp.

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Secret agent Bron is places on a planet, impersonating a famous scientist to draw out a rival space empire. It turns out he attracts the attention of an extraterrestrial murder campaign started millions of years ago.

Bron has brain implants that allow a monitoring team to see and hear what he sees and hears, as well as talk to him.

Kapp wrote another book in the same setting, The Chaos Weapon, which is the answer to a few questions on this stack.

  • This is the one I was thinking of... Pretty sure its the one the OP is describing.
    – NJohnny
    Mar 16, 2021 at 23:34

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