A human cook on a space mining ship finds an immortal alien when exploring a cave on an asteroid. The alien is the last of its kind. I think the others of its species may have been accidentally killed in the mining process. The alien becomes the man’s companion. It can change form, and heal itself and others it touches. In addition to changing its own shape, the alien can also envelope the man to change his appearance too… and it extends its healing power to effectively make the man immortal.

I think thousands of years pass before the protagonist of the novel is introduced. He teams up with the (now immortal) character. They have a mission of some sort but I don’t recall what it was. As the main plot unfolds, it is eventually revealed that the immortal man (using the powers of his alien companion) has been shaping human societies development across multiple solar systems for his own reasons. Society is decadent and corrupt and it turns out the immortal baddy is both the ruler AND the mysterious leader of an underground revolutionary group. I think the whole thing was for his entertainment rather than any justifiable reason. In the end, I think he is killed and the alien/symbiote teams up with the protagonist.

I don’t recall the plot of the main story but the villain pretends to be helping protagonist, until the big reveal.

I recall that the society (which has been shaped over millennia by the antagonist) is decadent and corrupt. The humans are fat, wear makeup, and enjoy watching blood sports. There is a scene where giant dogs are ridden on a hunt of some sort. The central goal of the protagonist may have been to destroy a tower that was somehow essential to interstellar travel.

2 Answers 2


Could be Healer: A Novel of the LaNague Federation by F. Paul Wilson

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Steven Dalt should have died in that cave on the planet Kwashi. After all, as the natives say, of 1,000 people attacked by the cave-dwelling alaret, 999 will die. Dalt survives, but not without personal cost: He has picked up a passenger - an alien intelligence transferred itself from the alaret to take up residence in his brain. Steven Dalt will never be alone again.

But Pard, as Dalt names the alien who shares his life, doesn’t believe in freeloading. He pays his rent by using cellular-level consciousness to maintain Dalt’s body in perfect health - no disease, no aging. And now Dalt appreciates the full meaning of the Kwashi natives’s saying: Of 1,000 struck down by an alaret, 999 will die. But the 1,000th will not die...ever.

Spanning 1,200 years, Healer follows Dalt and Pard through the centuries as they become known as the Healer, an enigmatic figure with the power to cure diseases of the mind. And when a wave of interstellar slaughter threatens the civilizations of the LaNague Federation, only the Healer has the resources to face the onrushing doom.


Star Bridge by Jack Williamson and James E. Gunn

  • 3
    Hi, welcome to the site. You could improve this answer by editing it to explain how this matches the book described in the question. May 28 at 17:02
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    I can't see anything in this description that matches the question; en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Bridge
    – Valorum
    May 28 at 17:50
  • 2
    I have read Star Bridge, and the first paragraph of the question bears a strong resemblance to things that are established, early on, about a supporting character's backstory (after the protagonist detects some anomalies and insists upon knowing the truth). The second paragraph also resembles some of the plot, but I see deviations. So I'm not sure whether this is the correct novel, but I'm not ready to rule it out.
    – Lorendiac
    May 29 at 2:02

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