When the human race spread out among the stars, they took the profit motive with them, and none exemplified that fact better than Nicholas Van Rijn, interstellar trader and capitalist extraordinaire. He might look like Falstaff and talk in a steady stream of malapropisms, but anybody who might take him for a bumbling buffoon would quickly find themselves taken--to the cleaners! In Nick Van Rijn, Poul Anderson created one of the most memorable and popular characters in science fiction, and now, for the first time, all the stories of Van Rijn and the Polesotechnic League will be published in chronological order in three volumes. This first volume includes the classic novel, The Man Who Counts, in which Van Rijn and two associates are stranded on a planet inhabited by a winged race, two factions of which happen to be at war with each other. The planet has no food that is not poisonous to humans, and the three humans have only a small supply of food in their wrecked ship. Somehow the humans must get to another continent, where a human outpost is, before they starve, in spite of the planet's inhabitants being too busy fighting a war to bother with the troubles of these three odd-looking wingless aliens. An impossible problem? Not for Nick Van Rijn.
Also included are more stories of Van Rijn flamboyant exploits, plus stories set elsewhere in the Polesotechnic universe. And, after the three volumes chronicling the Polesotechnic League's rise and fall will come more volumes, telling of the rise of the Terran Empire and the adventures of Poul Anderson's other legendary character, Captain Sir Dominic Flandry.