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Ducem Barr later concludes that given the Empire's state of decay, any combination of General and Emperor was bound to fail, as no Emperor could afford being dethroned by a General too successful and popular, nor risk leading a campaign himself and leave Trantor while his rivals plotted his demise. About a hundred years later, the Empire has ceased to exist in name as well as in fact, Trantor having been sacked by a "barbarian fleet". The Foundation has become the dominant power in the galaxy, controlling its region through its trading network.

Unfortunately, the leadership of the Foundation has become degenerate: the Mayor of Terminus is Indbur III , the ineffectual grandson of a strongman who seized power and instituted hereditary rule. In addition to this internal corruption, an external threat arises in the form of a mysterious man who is known only as the Mule. The Mule whose real name is never revealed is a mental freak and possesses the ability to sense and manipulate the emotions of others.

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He uses this ability to take over the independent systems bordering the Foundation, and has them wage a war against the Foundation. While his vassals prosecute the war, the Mule travels under the guise of a refugee clown named Magnifico Giganticus with Foundation citizens Toran Darell and Bayta Darell to different worlds of the Foundation.

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He uses his abilities to undermine the Foundation's war effort by spreading despair and destroying morale. In the end, the Foundation falls without much of a fight.

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Still under the guise of a refugee clown, he travels with the Darells, along with psychologist Ebling Mis , to the Imperial Library of Trantor. Lathan Devers, a native of the Foundation, and Ducem Barr, a patrician from the planet Siwenna, have been "guests" of Bel Riose for several months when it becomes clear that they will soon be treated as enemies, or even be killed. They escape, stealing a message capsule that appears to implicate the General in treason, and travel to Trantor , to see Emperor Cleon II and show him the message.


During their attempts to contact the emperor, Devers and Barr attract the attention of Trantor law enforcement and are forced to flee the planet. In the meantime, the emperor decides that Riose is a threat to his status and to the balance of the Empire and recalls him to Trantor and has him executed for treason , thus ending the threat to the Foundation. Afterwards, members of the Foundation attempt to analyze the struggle for power between generals and emperors within the old Empire using the principles of psychohistory.

Although Hari Seldon did not leave any advanced knowledge of psychohistory with the Foundation, they come to understand that no action was actually required on their part, as with the previous crises. Their story was familiar to Asimov from his recent reading of Robert Graves 's novel Count Belisarius , and of his earlier study of Edward Gibbon 's History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire , on which the entire series is loosely based. The second half of the book, titled "The Mule", takes place approximately one hundred years after the first half.

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The Empire, after its final phase of decline and civil war, has ceased to exist, Trantor has suffered "The Great Sack" by a "barbarian fleet", and only a small rump state of 20 agricultural planets remain. Most of galactic civilization has disintegrated into barbaric kingdoms. The Foundation has become the dominant power in the galaxy, controlling its territory through its trading network. The outline of the Seldon Plan has become widely known, and Foundationists and many others believe that as it has accurately predicted previous events, the Foundation's formation of a Second Empire is inevitable.

The leadership of the Foundation has become dictatorial and complacent, and many outer planets belonging to the Traders plan to revolt. An external threat arises in the form of a mysterious man known only as the Mule. He uses this ability to take over the independent systems bordering the Foundation, and has them wage a war against it.

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In face of this new threat, the provincial Traders join with the central Foundation leaders against the Mule, believing him to be the new Seldon crisis. As the Mule advances the Foundation's leaders assume that Seldon predicted this attack, and that the scheduled hologram crisis message appearance of Seldon will again tell them how to win. To their surprise, they learn that Seldon predicted a civil war with the Traders, not the rise of the Mule. The tape suddenly stops as Terminus loses all power in a Mule attack, and the Foundation falls.

Foundation citizens Toran and Bayta Darell , along with the psychologist Ebling Mis and "Magnifico Giganticus", a clown fleeing the Mule's service, travel to different worlds of the Foundation, and finally to the Great Library of Trantor. The Darells and Mis seek to contact the Second Foundation , which they believe will be able to defeat the Mule.

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They also have suspicions that the Mule wishes to know the location of the Second Foundation as well, so that he can use the First Foundation's technology to destroy it. At the Great Library, Ebling Mis works continuously until his health fatally deteriorates. Before he can reveal the Second Foundation's location, however, Bayta kills him. Book Description Del Rey. Mass Market Paperback.

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Light rubbing wear to cover, spine and page edges. Very minimal writing or notations in margins not affecting the text. Possible clean ex-library copy, with their stickers and or stamp s. Seller Inventory More information about this seller Contact this seller. Add to Basket. Condition: Fair. A readable copy. All pages are intact, and the cover is intact.

Pages can include considerable notes-in pen or highlighter-but the notes cannot obscure the text. Seller Inventory GI5N Condition: GOOD. Spine creases, wear to binding and pages from reading. May contain limited notes, underlining or highlighting that does affect the text. Accessories such as CD, codes, toys, may not be included.