I read this book about 21-May-2013. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1979. This note was last modified Thursday, 30-May-2013 16:38:50 PDT.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
Smith actually wrote two Lord Tedric stories, I believe. They're in The Best of Doc Smith. While my British edition doesn't say so, ISFDB says these are by Gordon Eklund. And this is the third novel in the Eklund series. I don't think I have the first two. Or the fourth.
This has little to do with the stories. The original structure was clearly going to be a series of alternate histories, where playing with the life of one man changes everything thereafter, and Skandos gleefully totes up the years until absolute catastrophe (an increasing number).
In this one, they're fighting the pirate raids of Fra Villion, who is apparently really a Bioman, one of a genetically engineered super-race who have gone off on their own. He's the only one who pays any attention to the old empire.
It's an ordinary enough adventure plot.
This book has not been well-served by its covers.