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.
It was a neat little scam, a rigged game in which only the House could win, which the Federation had played for over a hundred thousand years, and no one had ever managed to challenge it.
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.
THOSE KZIN DON'T KNOW WHEN
(AND MAYBE THEY AREN'T . . . .)
It was so unfair! Here the Kzin were, warcats supreme, bringing the galaxy piece by piece under feline dominion, carving out satrapies for the home planet like the lords of creation that they were—and then they ran into those pesky humans. Mere apes! Contemptible salad-eaters! Taking pride in sneaking up on a leaf! Obviously fit only to be lunch, not even a speed bump in the Kzinti's imperial career. Hardly worth screaming-and-leaping about.
But when the feline Kzin moved in to take over the monkey-occupied worlds—they got clobbered. The humans, with their underhanded monkey cunning, turned communications equipment and space drives into weapons that cut the dauntless Heroes into ribbons. When the humans gained a faster-than-light drive, it `vas all over but the, uh, howling. The Kzin had lost their first war ever in centuries of conquest.
Still, you can't keep a good warcat down, and the Kzin have by no means given up. New weapons, new strategies, and new leaders—the humans had better keep their powder dry. Once again, it's howling time in Known Space!
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
New York Times bestselling author and multiple award-winner Larry Niven is author of the Hugo and Nebula Award winning Ringworld, a novel recognized as a milestone in modern science fiction. Like Ringworld and its sequels, The Ringworld Engineers and The Ringworld Throne, the Man-Kzin books are part of the Known Space series, possibly the most popular SF series of all time.
Poul Anderson, a seven-time Hugo Award winner, three-time Nebula Award winner, and recipient of the Grand Master Award of the Science Fiction Writers of America for lifetime achievement, has been both popular and prolific for five decades, creating Nicholas van Rijn and Sir Dominic Flandry, two of the most memorable characters in science fiction, and publishing over one hundred books.
Paul Chafe was born in Toronto, Ontario in 1965. Currently he is pursuing graduate studies in Electrical Engineering at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He is an infantry officer in the Canadian forces Reserve and has served with four regiments. When he isn't writing he devotes his spare time to flying sailplanes, parachuting, cycling and travel. He has one son, Christian, who is 8.
Hal Colebatch lives in a suburb of Perth, Australia, where he practices law. His recent book, Blair's Britain, was selected by the London Spectator's Taki as a book of the year. In addition to his earlier stories in the ManKzin saga, he has written mainstream fiction, biographies, plays, poetry, and several hundred articles. He has a Ph.D in Political Science, and has been an advisor to two Australian Federal Ministers. He is married and has two stepchildren.
Spacer Chan Dalton is torn between two masters. The pacifist aliens who hold Earth under Quarantine want him to find out why their starships have been disappearing in the Geyser Swirl, the Bermuda Triangle of the galaxy. Earth's military, which has secretly discovered a way to break the quarantine, assumes that someone out there is making ships vanish, including Earth's, and wants Dalton to find the culprits and hopefully stop themwith extreme prejudice, if necessary.
The trouble is, the aliens hold the taking of intelligent life, even in self defense, to be the greatest of sins. It was Earth's violent ways (in defense of the damned pacifist aliens!) that led to the quarantine in the first place-and if Dalton is forced to fight, it will unveil, and so destroy, Earth's final chance to reach for the stars again.
So when Dalton does indeed discover the hostile invaders responsible for the lost starships, he is faced with an impossible decision: Fight and lose access to space forever; or allow a rapacious enemy to run riot over all that he holds dear....
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Charles Sheffield, a mathematician and physicist, is a past president of both the American Astronautical Society and the Science Fiction Writers of America, and the chief scientist of the Earth Satellite Corporation. He has published over a hundred technical papers and monographs on such subjects as nuclear physics, gravitational field analysis, and general relativity, and an equally large body of popular science articles for the layman. He serves as a science reviewer for several prominent publications.
In science fiction, Dr. Sheffield has received the coveted Nebula and Hugo Awards, as well as the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for his novel for Baen, Brother to Dragons. His other SF novels for Baen include The Mind Pool (to which The Spheres of Heaven is a sequel), Between the Strokes of Night, Convergent Series, and Transvergence. He is also the author for Baen of Borderlands of Science: How to Think Like a Scientist and Write Science Fiction, which is both a nonfiction survey of current scientific frontiers and an explanation of how a science fiction writer can write SF using bona fide scientific knowledge. Which is just the sort of SF that Dr. Sheffield has been writing for some time now, to the resounding acclaim of readers and critics alike.
ONLY HUMANITY'S TWO-FISTED
DIPLOMAT CAN SAVE U5 NOW !
"... into the chaotic Galactic political scene, the CDT emerged to carry forward the ancient diplomatic tradition . . : Corps diplomats displayed an encyclopedic grasp of the nuances of Extra-Terrestrial mores asset against the labyrinthine socio-politico-economic Galactic context..."
—Official History of the Corps Diplomatique, AD 2940 NOT!What they really had was Retief! Ignore the official version—in these pages is the real story of how Retief tied the bad guys' eye-stalks in knots, and made the Galaxy safe for humanity.
Publisher's Note: The stories and novel herein have previously appeared in parts in Envoy and New Worlds,Galactic Diplomat, and Retief's War. This is the first unitary edition.
"Some of the funniest; cleverest, and most (unfortunately) realistic stories ever written about life at the sharp end of international relations. You're about to have fun."
"A James Bond figure among helpless bureaucrats . : . adventure tales that are brisk, light and sardonic. . .
. satirically wild SF adventures . . . improbable plot twists and slapstick action:"
. . . zany humor and puns leaven the action; and, of course, Retief carries the day. Fans of the peerless diplomat will want to get their hands on his latest assignment."
The Empire is in danger, with a weak sybarite on the throne and rebellion rising in outlying regions of the Galaxy and on Earth itself. Then the Emperor is assassinated, and General Ivar Brady-Schiovana is forced to declare himself Emperor. But hope appears in the persons of two men and a woman who are rumored to be legendary heroes.