Rhialto finds out his friends are rather greedy and manipulative wizards, but that one among them is really evil.
FANTASY BOOK REVIEW JACK VANCE RHIALTO THE MARVELLOUS FADERS WAFT 1984 Gollancz / Orion Fantasy Masterworks #4
The middle and best story in the Rhialto trilogy that closes the Tales Of The Dying Earth collection.
Rhialto is not as marvellous as he naively believes in the eyes of the other wizards. Some envy his collection of magical artefacts with jealous eyes and a few play cruel jokes at his expense and get him blamed for various magical mishaps.
An important amulet is purloined and made part of a lavatory chain, with the grievous insult being blamed on Rhialto. Later, he makes more enemies by unwittingly gaining the affection of a woman who other wizards have actively tried to seduce without success.
In Rhialto’s absence, the wizard cabal unite and swap grievances. They put him on trial, find him guilty and give a verdict permitting their plunder of his house, making his magical properties their own.
Rhialto is deeply distressed and tries to solve the crisis by appealing to the wizards using appeal procedures. His book of the laws that they all follow religiously has been vandalized so they seek a copy of the true original work only to find it replaced by a forgery. Rhialto realizes that while some of his friends betrayed him from petty bitter rivalry, one wizard at least has a more serious agenda against all of them.
Rhialto finds that the book of the laws is hidden in a distant past aeon, and travels back in time after it, facing various adventures, in order to gain justice and regain the respect of the other wizards.
A brilliant work, making tremendous use of its massive cast of eccentric treacherous, vain and powerful characters.