The discovery of stroon, a drug that confers near immortality on humans, has made Old North Australia rich, so rich that, when Rod McBan has to flee the planet because someone wants him dead, he buys the Earth.
Cordwainer Smith is pen name of an American author Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger (1913–1966).
Portions of this novel have been previously published under the following titles:
The Planet Buyer (aka The Boy Who Bought Old Earth), 1964;
The Underpeople, 1968 (posthumous edition).
The Planet Buyer was nominated for Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1965.