Title: The Third Power
Author: Walter Ernsting
First Publication: 1961 (Germany)
Cover Artist: Johnny Bruck
Series: Perry Rhodan #2
Cycle: The Third Power #2
After returning from the moon with the aliens he discovered, Perry Rhodan returns to Earth and sets up his base in the Gobi desert. Rhodan plans on using the alien technology to unite the world but of course the various countries do not agree with him...
A short explanation...this series was originally published in Germany. The dates and numbering I am using are from the German editions. The series is still running and has passed the 2600 mark. Within the regular numbering, the story lines are broken down into cycles. "The Third Power" cycle lasts through book 49.
With this story we continue to see the characters grow. One of the original crew, Clark Fletcher, of the flight to the moon does not want to be part of Rhodan's new world order. He just wants to return home to see the birth of his first child. Rhodan's right hand man, Reginald Bell, is going to fly Fletcher to the coast to catch a ship back to the United States. Rhodan uses an Arkonide hypnosis ray to remove Fletcher's memories of the Arkonides. As they come into conflict during the trip, Bell uses the hypnosis device to stop the attacks. Unfortunately he does not think through his orders and the results are tragic. Bell finally releases Fletcher to return home. Unlike many series, sometimes things do not work out the way the main characters plan. This makes the characters more realistic.
Rhodan and his crew do not know how Fletcher's story ends. It is one of the more tragically touching endings in the series. Rhodan unknowingly contributes to his death.
The series is laying the groundwork at this point. It will take a few more books before it starts to take the shape I remember when I started reading it.
I recommend picking up this series if you like long running stories with a pulp background.