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The Man Who Counts by Poul Anderson
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Nicholas Van Rijn is a larger than life character from the classic age of Science Fiction and as such should be in every fan of SF's collection.

That should be enough, but perhaps you want more. Based on Falstaff, with other elements thrown in, Anderson delves into world building to make the central plot work, and work well. Our hero is not even Van Rijn, but an aide of his who gives us the human point of view, we never getting into Van Rijn's perspective until he tells us, through our hero Wace, at the end of the tale, all that he is about.

Still, that is secondary to our introduction to this fabulous character that Anderson explores several times across his novels, and whom all come to see as a great work of character development along with the ability to make a plausible world come alive. A world with real problems based on biology, sociology, plate teutonics, evolution at its best. ( )
  DWWilkin | Jun 5, 2014 |
Enjoyed it! This I believe was the first of a series of stories of the Polesotechnic League and introduced the flamboyant character of Nicholas Van Rijn. The story moves nicely with the human-heroes trying to get back to an area of safety (because the food on this world is poisonous.) In order to pull this off they have to work with two waring factions on the planet. Along the way you learn all about the culture and the world these factions live on. There is also a extra lesson on leadership supplied at the end. What I enjoyed the most was Anderson's "World Building." Which was Wonderfully imaginative, clever and consistent. ( )
  stevetempo | Apr 11, 2009 |
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Also published in The Earth Book of Stormgate and then separately as The Earth Book of Stormgate - 2. A different version was published as War of the Wing-Men.
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