Debut novel and first book in the Diadem series by Jo Clayton (1939–1998). First published by DAW Books in 1977, this is a later edition from 1984, but with the same cover art by Michael Whelan (b. 1950). The typography features Wexford Ultra Bold (VGC, 1972) by Richard Schlatter (b. 1944), in tightly spaced caps. Wexford can easily be distinguished from other 1970s “Bauhaus-y” faces by the low-waisted E and the pointed M. Harold Lohner made a digital interpretation and expansion named Wexley.
Far out among the stars the masterminds of the spider people had placed their mightiest mysteries in the scientific device called the diadem. And when that coronet was stolen, they were prepared to pursue it throughout eternity. The thief crashed among the nomads of Jaydugar, a semi-barbarian world …and the diadem found its way into the hands – and onto the skull – of the girl Aleytys. She was herself a strange one – daughter of a sky wanderer, outcast among the people who had raised her out of fear and awe. And the diadem was to prove both her bane and her treasure. For she could not remove it once it had sunk its electronic web into her brain and her nervous system – and she did not know how to control the powers that were contained within it. Yet every moment she wore it, she would be a target for the vengeance of the spider race and the avarice of a thousand worlds.