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I'm trying to locate an old scifi book I last read in the 80's that was written in a style similar to that of H. Beam Piper.

It is the story of a young man living on a planet that was used as a prison planet prior to the breakup of the federation after a long war. He and his friends gain access to an interplanetary ship and go hunting what was left of civilisation.

Eventually he discovers he's being helped by a member of the police force that stayed behind to help people leave when the time was right. He also finds out that there is a second planet in the solar system that used to be a resort planet and goes there.

The story ends with him about to leave on hyperdrive ship to go out and see what's happened to other planets in the federation.


This is not the story "Coventry" by Heinlein, despite the name and similar overall theme.

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Would this be the short story that you're looking for, Coventry by Robert Heinlein?

In a future American society, everyone must accept the Covenant of non-violence, and psychologists can "cure" criminal or violent personality traits. The protagonist, David MacKinnon, is a romantic idealist who has been convicted of assault, and the court determines he is a substantial risk to commit violence in the future. He must accept treatment to remove his violent tendency, or be exiled to "Coventry", the area allocated to those who reject the Covenant or commit crimes and refuse psychological treatment, enclosed by an impassable electric field (the "Barrier").

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The book is Alpha Star (AKA Prison Planet) by Victor D. Heywood. The characters are Seatraders Dran and Chap, the plainswoman Adri, old Jerd, young Freeholder boy Garl. The police are called Guardians. They gained access to a Guardian Land Base protected by Watchdog weapons.

The resort planet is Gaul that has caves of narcotic mist

From Gaul they gained knowledge that the starship they are looking for is on the repair depot located on the far side of Coventry's moon.

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