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The High Crusade by Poul Anderson
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The High Crusade (original 1960; edition 1983)

by Poul Anderson

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8232811,024 (3.7)1 / 48
Member:RandyStafford
Title:The High Crusade
Authors:Poul Anderson
Info:Berkley (1983), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:science fiction

Work details

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson (1960)

  1. 00
    Space Folk by Poul Anderson (dukeallen)
  2. 01
    Ten Years to Doomsday by Michael Kurland (bmlg)
    bmlg: humour, tension, and the unexpected as a pre-industrial world clashes with highly advanced alien invaders.
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The year is 1345, and Sir Roger Baron de Tourneville has gathered his troops ready to join King Edward III in his battle against France. The knight's day is interrupted by a two-thousand foot long flying machine, containing an advance force of Wersgorix. These are aliens from a distant world who are on a voyage of conquest; their view of Earth is as a backward and primitive place. Unfortunately for them, Sir Roger and company are combat hardened, and not only do not like being shot at but they return fire with longbows, putting arrows through the invaders and bashing those who survive into kingdom come. When the battle is over, Sir Roger finds himself in command of a star ship, with just one Wersgorix, somewhat worse for wear, left to pilot the vessel. His first reaction is to take the flying ship to France in support of his King, then on to the Holy Land to deal with the infidels. But his plan is foiled by the remaining alien, who flies the ship straight back to the nearest Wersgorix planet, believing that once there the primitives will simply surrender. It is at this point that the Wersgorix learn a fatal lesson about the indomitable spirit, cleverness and sheer bloody determination of medieval Englishmen.

Poul Anderson is one of the science fiction authors I first encountered in my youth as he began writing novels in the fifties and sixties of the previous century. He became an award-winning author and demonstrated an imagination that produced both great science fiction and fantasy. With The High Crusade we have a vision of an alternative past where the medieval knights are faced with aliens and their success leads to further adventures in space. It sounds like a precursor to a recent film, "Cowboys & Aliens", set in the American west circa 1873. The High Crusade, while written somewhat tongue-in-cheek is nonetheless entertaining with reasonably developed themes. It shows what a well-disciplined and determined inferior group can achieve against a technologically superior foe. The characters are believable and maintain the reader's interest throughout.

The High Crusade is overall an entertaining story that can be enjoyed by both young and old. It reminded me of my enjoyment of tales like Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court and another classic SF novel, L. Sprague de Camp's Lest Darkness Fall. Poul Anderson is always worth reading and this minor classic is one reason. ( )
  jwhenderson | Jul 31, 2015 |
Pretty funny, a good explanation of possible alien contact in the High Middle Ages. How do you review a funny book in a meaningful way? Spoilers are deadly, in this genre. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Sep 2, 2013 |
This novel takes a common sci-fi premise – an alien race’s first contact with Earth – and adds an unusual twist: what if this contact took place in the year 1345? In the small English village of Ansby, Sir Roger de Tourneville and his vassals are about to join King Edward III on crusade when a giant alien ship suddenly lands among them. Despite being terrified at the appearance of what they believe to be demons, Sir Roger and his men fight the aliens and manage to gain control of the ship. Then, due to one alien’s cunning, the spaceship returns to its home planet – with Sir Roger and his Englishmen aboard!

This was my first experience with Poul Anderson, but it certainly won’t be my last! The description of this book just tickled me; how could I resist a book about aliens who land on Earth during the Middle Ages? I was expecting it to read almost like a parody and be extremely funny, but this novel actually has a lot of depth to it. I was surprised by how much I ended up caring for the characters, like Sir Roger, his chronicler Brother Parvus, and his wife Lady Catherine. I also think the book is well plotted, and the ending was a surprise in a very good way! I really, really enjoyed this book and will definitely be seeking out Anderson’s other work.
  christina_reads | May 13, 2013 |
I love Poul Anderson. It amazes me that he can write such masterful and complex works as The Broken Sword and something as silly and fun as The High Crusade, and make both equally enjoyable to me. The basic premise of this book is medieval Englishmen from around the time of the crusades, in space, brazening it out and taking over the universe. It is all dealt with very lightly, but there's still moments that are touching and emotionally compelling too -- Lady Catherine's words at the end of the story, for example.

One of my favourite bits:

"We have one prisoner who speaks Latin -- "
"I would not say that, sire," I interrupted. "His declensions are atrocious, and what he does to irregular verbs may not be described in gentle company."

Just, awesome. Ridiculous, but awesome. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Poul Andersonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alcorn, JohnCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heimisch, RalfCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Powers, RichardCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sweet, Darrell K.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woolheiser, JackCover Artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Jens Christian and Nancy Hostrup ---
as well as Per and Janne ---
gratefully and hopefully
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As the captain looked up, the hooded desk lamp threw his face into ridges of darkness and craggy highlights.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743475283, Paperback)

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 over planets, and having determined from orbit that this one was suitable, they initiate standard world-conquering procedure. But 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!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:38 -0400)

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