Venus grabs the reader's attention from the first pages. Van Humphries, the weakling second son of an overbearing business tycoon, takes up his father's challenge of going to Venus to find the body of his older brother, who died trying to be the first man to land there. He is hampered by several things: the competition of his father's hated rival Lars Fuchs interference from his father, who places his own commander, Desiree Du-champ, in charge Capt. Duchamp's daughter Marguerite, a biologist, who is placed aboard even though there is no real work for her to do his own disability, which requires him to receive periodic injections of an enzyme to combat anemia and the planet Venus itself. Soon after arrival at the planet, all other obstructions vanish, and Venus becomes the main obstacle. Corrosive lifeforms are discovered in the clouds around the planet, and soon Van and crew must abandon ship. Fuchs reluctantly comes to their rescue, but only Van and Marguerite survive the transfer. Fuchs takes them on as his crew, and proceeds to bully Van relentlessly. Fuchs' alien crew attempt to mutiny, but Van intervenes. As Van's enzymes disappeared with his ship, his death is imminent, until it is discovered that Fuchs' blood will act in the place of the medication. Van eventually makes it to the planet's surface and rescues the pod containing his brother's remains. But that is not the true ending to this exciting book.
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