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Often listed as the first book of the Foundation Series but is really a prequel to the original Foundation series and was the second to last book to actually be written. It better links the Galatic Empire series, Foundation series, and Robot series bring together elements from each of the three series.

The story line involves Hari Seldon's early work on psychohistory and some of how that developed. The Galatic Empire hears of Seldon's work, becomes interested in it, and pursues him even though he has told them repeatedly that it wouldn't be of practical use to them. The come after him and Seldon is forced to flee the government. If Seldon wants to further develop his work and help humanity he must figure out a way to convice the Empire that he isn't important. He gets some help from some friends and one surprise character.