The Excalibur Alternative
HE WHO LIVES BY THE SWORD . . .
The races which ruled the Galactic Federation knew they were vastly superior to the inferior species restricted to the narrow confines of their own star systems by the crudity of their technology . . . and they had every intention of keeping things that way.
Yet all good things come to an end, and the Galactics made one mistake. It didn't seem all that terrible at first, only a single merchant guild which bought itself a Roman legion to use as enslaved sepoys on the primitive worlds where they weren't permitted to use their own weapons to force trading concessions. But the Romans were too good at what they did, and a desperate competing guild decided that the only way it could continue to compete was if it had Romans of its own.
Unfortunately, Roman legions were no longer available, so the competing guild had to settle for something else: English longbowmen on their way to the Battle of Crecy.
Roman legions make dangerous pets . . . but English longbowmen are even worse.
It may take a century or so, but the Galactics are about to discover what happens when the sword finally comes out of the stone.
Publisher's Note: This novel is based on a much shorter version published in David Drake's Foreign Legions.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The science fiction phenomenon of the decade, David Weber is often compared to C.S. Forester (the celebrated creator of Captain Horatio Hornblower, on whom Weber's own Honor Harrington is largely based) and is the recipient of the sort of critical praise once reserved for a Heinlein or an Asimov. His hordes of voracious fans clamor for more and more Weber. Fortunately for them, Weber keeps steadily producing book after book with first printings that sell out almost immediately, then go back into continuous reprint. His novels range from epic fantasy (Oath of Swords, The War God's Own) to breathtaking space opera (Path of the Fury, The Armageddon Inheritance) to military science fiction with in-depth characterization (the celebrated and awesomely popular Honor Harrington series, the New York Times bestselling Ashes of Victory being the latest installment). Reviewers call Weber "highly entertaining" (Booklist), "outstanding . . . superb . . . excellent" (Wilson Library Bulletin), "remarkable" (Kliatt), "the best" (Dragon), "worth shouting about" (Philadelphia Weekly Press), "great" (Locus), and "the best writer around today" (FosFax). Weber is married and lives in South Carolina where (his fans will be happy to hear) he is working on the next Honor Harrington novel.
Cover art by Patrick Turner
This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental.
First printing, January 2002
Distributed by Simon & Schuster
Printed in the United States of America
Copyright © 2002 by David Weber. A shorter version of this novel was published as "Sir George and the Dragon" in Foreign Legions, edited by David Drake, © 2001.
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form.
A Baen Books Original
Production by Windhaven Press
Electronic version by WebWrights
For Bobbie and Sharon, my two favorite ladies.
BAEN BOOKS by DAVID WEBER
edited by David Weber:
Path of the Fury
The Apocalypse Troll
The Excalibur Alternative
Oath of Swords
with Steve White:
with John Ringo: