The Book of Dreams is the fifth and final novel in one of Jack Vance's science fiction series, the Demon Princes, in which Kirth Gersen sets out to eliminate the five arch-villains who enslaved or murdered his loved ones.
Gersen's quest is nearly at an end; all that remains is Howard Alan Treesong. This is no easy task, for Treesong rules the underworld across human space and almost succeeded in getting himself made head of the Interworld Police Coordinating Commission (an interstellar version of Interpol).
Gersen buys the magazine Cosmopolis. In its archives, he discovers by chance a photo of a group of people at a banquet on which is written "H A Treesong is here". He devises a clever way of identifying Treesong: creating a new sister magazine to Cosmopolis and drumming up interest in its first issue with a contest to name everyone in the picture. Soon, entries pour in, and everyone except one is clearly identified. Gersen deduces that the group comprises almost the entire leadership of the Institute, an extremely prestigious, powerful organization of the elite. Further investigation reveals that Treesong poisoned everyone during the banquet. Only one man stands between him and control of the Institute. Gersen manages to both foil Treesong's assassination attempt and wound him.
Then a late contest entry from Treesong's own brother takes Gersen to his home planet. The brother provides information and sells Gersen Treesong's "Book of Dreams", in which the then young boy had written down his thoughts and aspirations. After disrupting Treesong's revenge on his former classmates and tormentors at a class reunion, Gersen uses the book to lure Treesong to his doom. With his great mission completed, Gersen is at a loss as to what to do with the rest of his life.
Best part of story, including ending:
Treesong's motivations are quite believable, like those of the other villains in the series.
Best scene in story:
The imaginative ways Treesong got his (partial) revenge on his old classmates was funny.
Opinion about the main character:
Gersen shows more of his human side, embarking on a romance with another of Treesong's victims and showing bewilderment at the end of his quest.