The Salt Man, or Skinwalker’s Delight, by Keith Rogers Gordon
Mister Salt has fallen on hard times. Business is bad. His scams are sour. His best days are long behind him, but at least he still has his pride. As far as he’s concerned, he’s still worth his salt. But all that changes when Nephram Taine, a lost-long friend, yanks him from the bottom of a bottle and sets him on a collision course with his buried past. Taine has no other choice—there’s no one else in the Free Isles who can help him, no one else who can unlock the secrets of an impossibly ancient artifact with a trail of death cluttering its wake.