At the heart of a bizarre planet lay the goal of every being that had ever lived.… Below average in height and unprepossessing in appearance, Nathan Brazil is an unassuming if cynical starship owner, carrying passengers and cargo for a living - hardly the sort of person to hold the fate of the entire universe in his hands. But when Nathan detours from his route to answer a distress call, a hidden stargate hurls him and his passengers to the Well World, the master control planet for the cosmos. Billions of years ago, a godlike race unlocked all the secrets of space and time and remade the universe according to their grand design.
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Antor Trellig, head of a ruthless interstellar syndicate, has seized a supercomputer with godlike powers that could make him omnipotent. The Council offers master criminal Mavra Chang any reward she desires if she can stop Trellig - and horrible, lingering death if she fails. But neither Trellig nor Mavra has taken the Well World into consideration. Built by the ancient Markovians, the Well World controls the design of the cosmos. When the opponents are drawn across space to the mysterious planet, they find themselves in new, alien bodies and in the middle of a battle where strange races fight desperately.
Mavra Chang was once a master criminal, notorious throughout the galaxy. But for 11 long years she has been trapped in a nonhuman body on the Well World - the master control planet for the universe, where untold numbers of strange races exist, separated by barriers erected by the mysterious, vanished race that built the Well World billions of years ago. Orbiting the planet is a planetoid concealing Obie, a supercomputer that could restore Mavra Chang to her original form - if she can reach it. Unfortunately, the only spaceship on the planet is hidden in the northern hemisphere, a place no living creature can survive.