The High Crusade
By Poul Anderson
Star- traversing aliens with spaceships and missiles versus knights armed with maces and broadswords was always going to be a one-sided battle. The aliens never stood a chance . . .
In the year of grace 1345, as Sir Roger Baron de Tourneville is gathering an army to join King Edward III in the war against France, a most astonishing event occurs: a huge silver ship descends through the sky and lands in a pasture beside the little village of Ansby in North East Lincolnshire.
The Wersgorix, whose scouting ship it is, are quite expert at taking conquering planets, and having determined from orbit that this one is suitable, they initiate standard procedure. Their ship carries guided missiles and nuclear weaponry - but they have long since lost the art (and weapons) of hand-to-hand fighting. And this time it's no mere primitives the Wersgorix seek to enslave - they've launched their invasion against Englishmen!
In the end, only one alien is left alive - and Sir Roger's grand vision is born. He intends for the creature to fly the ship first to France to aid his King, then on to the Holy Land to vanquish the infidel. And then . . . ?
Poul Anderson (1926-2001) was born in Pennsylvania of Scandinavian stock. He started publishing science fiction in 1947 and became one the great figures in the genre, serving as President of the Science Fiction Writers of America, winning many Hugo and Nebula awards, and also winning the Gandalf (Grand Master) Award.
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- Publication date:
29 Sep 2011
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