The Face is Jack Vance's fourth novel in the science fiction series the Demon Princes, preceded by The Palace of Love.
Kirth Gersen has dedicated his life to taking down the five master criminals who, in his childhood, killed or enslaved his family. Only two remain.
From the villain's chosen name, Lens Larque, Gersen deduces he comes from the harsh desert planet Dar Sai. "Black sand", a valuable element is mined on Dar Sai, mainly for the benefit of the inhabitants of the planet Methel. In order to gain control of a mining company set up by Lens Larque long ago, Gersen has to play the frequently fatal Dar Sai sport of hadaul. His rigorous hand-to-hand combat training proves useful, and he wins enough shares to take over the company. Sifting through its records, Gersen is astounded by what he learns.
Lens Larque is notorious for his cruel and elaborate jests. Having been rebuffed from purchasing an estate on Methel, he obtained the rights to one of Methel's small moons and had explosives placed to carve his ugly face on it, large enough to be seen from the planet's surface.
Gersen captures and poisons Larque, explaining why he did so and refusing to let Larque perpetrate his final grand joke. After Larque is dead, however, Gersen sets off the explosives, having been treated very rudely by Methel's inhabitants himself.
Best part of story, including ending:
Vance's sheer imagination in coming up with Larque's revenge on Methel is a delight.
Best scene in story:
The final scene, when Gersen gets back at the smug, prejudiced inhabitants of Methel.
Opinion about the main character:
Gersen gets to show a sense of humor.