This is it. This is the very first science-fiction book that was given to me to read at the tender age of 11. How was I to know that the dog-eared and tatty paperback leant to me would lead to an addiction spanning twenty years. There should have been a warning on it saying "Danger: Reading this may lead to becoming an anally retentive spotty teenager, in turn becoming a terminally sad train-spotting adult with no friends." Seriously though, I loved this book and all the resulting others. The adventures of super crook Slippery Jim DiGriz, Angelina his doting yet psychopathic wife and then James and Bolivar, their twin sons, have kept me entertained throughout my reading life. "The Stainless Steel Rat" was the first book in this series (there are prequels, but this WAS the first) and like any fine classic, it lays the foundations for all the others. It tells how super criminal DiGriz becomes the super agent for the Special Corps and why Angelina is so beautiful yet so criminally insane. I could tell you more, but that would give the whole book away. Just read and enjoy. Harry Harrison is certainly a diverse and talented author and has produced many fine books away from the "Rat" series as demonstrated in the superb "West of Eden" epic fantasies, the "Hammer and the Cross" books, plus many, many others. If I could, I would sue Mr Harrison for all my wasted teenage years spent alone in my room reading his well spun tales instead of wrestling with rampant females in the back seats of cars and fumbling with the intricacies of their sheer and scanty undergarments. I curse you Harrison.