There is some sort of Federation-like organization, with agents who are "lone wolf" types.
Some of the details I remember:
- Each agent has an invisible, small "god" on their shoulder. They are referred to as "gods", and one of the tricks they can perform for the agent is to allow FTL communication to other agents through the other side's god.
- Early in the novel, a new science of predicting entropy gives them insight that entropy is somehow being controlled by an alien force, and used to wipe out the machines they need to "predict" when these events will occur.
- A young woman has been bred to have the ability to predict entropy without the machines, becomes a sort of sidekick.
- The alien force turns out to be a civilization soon to experience a Big Crunch, and they have to consume the mass of about 10 of our suns every second simply to control entropy in the other universe. It is never explained if they are merely our future, or a previous incarnation of the universe, or somehow separate entirely. Since they're close to the Big Crunch though, 10 solar masses isn't all that expensive.
I read this 10 or 15 years ago, a used book, the style of the cover made me think cheesy 1970s (and maybe even offensively sexist 1970s... but I may be confusing that with another).
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being pulptastic, this novel was easily a 853.6. Not a classic, not even just a good read, but almost atrociously bad. If it were a Star Wars character, it would be Jar Jar on bath salts.
Not EE Doc Smith. Definitely inspired by him though.