Centurions were the guardians of Rome. At the height of the Roman Republic there were over five thousand qualified Roman Centurions in the Legions. To be a Centurion required that, in a mostly illiterate society, one be able to read and write clearly, to be able to convey and create orders, to be capable of not only performing every skill of a Roman soldier but teach every skill of a Roman soldier.
Becoming a Centurion required intense physical ability, courage beyond the norm, years of sacrifice and a total devotion to the philosophy which was Rome. When Rome fell to barbarian invaders, there were less than five hundred qualified Centurions. Not because Rome had fewer people but because it had fewer willing to make the sacrifices. And the last Centurions left their shields in the heather and took a barbarian bride . . .
SF Masters at Play Among the Worlds!
Gravity Getting You Down
Old Earth: a cesspool of corruption and stagnation. In space there’s hope -- but you’d better be tough and true to your purpose, because this high frontier spells death for the stupid and the spineless! Combines multiple New York Times #1 best-seller Jerry Pournelle’s High Justice and Exiles to Glory in one mega-volume.
“[F]ans of hard SF always revel in [Pournelle’s work].
—Booklist on Jerry Pournelle.
The message had seemed simple, yet it was more complex than Don could have imagined. He was being called from Earth to an alien world for reasons unknown—save only that his life depended on it.
But setting out for Mars and getting there in good shape turned out to be a lot more complicated than Don ever would have guessed possible. It was trouble enough being inexplicably hounded by Earth's secret police.
But when he was hijacked by Venusian rebels, Don suddenly realized that he was trapped in the center of a war between worlds that could change the fate of the Solar System forever!
A warrior's truth: "In the long run, everybody's dead. So screw the long run!" Patriotic hoo-ha may be well-and-good for recruitment parades, but David Drake's battle-hardened mercenaries know it takes tanks, guns and grit to win when the real fighting flares. Yet peace brings its own problems to old soldiersfor killing potential enemies in battle is self-limiting, but once the killing starts in peacetime, there may be no end to the madness.
Two new "Hammer's Slammers" adventures crown this masterful collection of hard-hitting SF tales from legendary military SF action-master and best-seller, David Drake.
We the Underpeople
THE SUFFOCATING BENEVOLENCE OF THE INSTRUMENTALITY
In a far-flung future, planoforming ships knit together a galaxy ruled from Earth by the ruthless benevolence of the mysterious Lords of the Instrumentality, who presided over a utopia without disease, danger—or freedom.
The Underpeople, humanlike beings created from animals to do the work of utopia, had no rights, and could be disposed of at the whim of a human. But they had become more humanlike than their decadent creators, and their leader, the cat woman C'Mell, had a plan for gaining their freedom—which made her much too dangerous a person to be permitted to live.
Elsewhere in the galaxy, the planet Norstrilia had power of its own, for it was the only source of stroon, the drug which arrested aging and made humans immortal. Its inhabitants were wealthy beyond comprehension, and one of them, a boy named Rod McBan, with the help of his computer, had manipulated the galactic economy until he completely owned the planet Earth—which made him much too dangerous a person to be permitted to live.
But when Rod came to Earth and joined forces with C'Mell and a rebellious Lord of the Instrumentality, the petrified utopia of the Instrumentality began to crack and fall apart as freedom was reborn in the galaxy. . . .
Together for the first time in one volume—the classic novel Norstrilia, plus the other stories of the Underpeople's struggle for freedom. A unique vision of the future by one of the most honored and original writers in science fiction.
"Smith made wonderlands. And he made us believe they could be real."—Frederik Pohl
"Read this. Cordwainer Smith is timeless." —Terry Pratchett
". . . a great, exploratory science fiction author . . . a truly unforgettable writer..." —David Brin
"If literary historians of the future make of Cordwainer Smith another Tolkien, it will not be too surprising." —Theodore Sturgeon
". . . a sophisticated, often poetic writer . . . these stories rank among the finest of all time. . . ."—Publishers Weekly