[ Read Online The High Crusade ½ egyptology PDF ] by Poul Anderson ¼ During the long summers without playmates at grandmother s cottage in southwest Michigan, I drew and read a lot when it was too lousy outside to spend a day with my dog, Jimmy The beach, though nearby, had lost its charm after the first days of summer There was none of the aesthetic concern for having a good tan which became a motivation in adolescence If I joined the folks down there at all, I d mostly read, only stepping in the water to cool off on the hotest days Sometimes, however, I d retreat up the hundred odd stairs in the wood alone to have the house to myself while the old ones talked and sunned themselves.
I recall reading Anderson s The High Crusade on such a beautiful day the folks on the beach, me alone in the bedroon shared with my eight years younger brother, Fin, the afternoon and early evening sun pouring through the windows This is a great book, I thought, a really funny one besides, I was learning about the Middle Ages and that was interesting in itself None of the treatments of the period in school were half as much fun, not even the children s edition of Malory with its romantic illustrations.
It is quite something to vividly remember reading a book forty seven years ago, to remember the day, the thoughts, the basic plot The ones remembered are often famous, like H G Wells novels, the kinds of stories one hears about again and again, refreshing the memory Anderson s little tale, however, is obscure, nothing I can remember ever hearing about or even talking about though I bet I recommended it at some point back then The memory is pristine, precious.
The idea that earth can resist an alien invasion is fairly ludicrous given that the aliens would have to travel light years across the universe to get here, so their level of technology and weaponry must be vastly superior to ours Poul Anderson, a scifi legend, was well aware of this, and he carefully created an amusing scenario where such a thing is at least plausible Anderson was a versatile author, books like Tau Zero and Brain Wave and The High Crusade are all very different not to mention his non genre and nonfiction works The premise is fairly straight forward In 1345 AD a huge spaceship lands in Ansby, a small village in Lincolnshire just as Sir Roger de Tourney illegal, an English Knight, was raising an army to fight a war with France This is a scout ship from the Wersgorix Empire who are always looking to expand their dominion As luck would have it, their technology is so advanced that they have forgotten how to fight hand to hand and fall prey to the English soldiers who stormed their ship and basically hacked them all to death, except for one rather shady character named Branithar Thinking that the flying ship will give them a huge advantage over the French Sir Roger orders Branithar to fly the ship to France, Branithar readily agrees but activates the pre programmed autopilot to take them to the nearest Wersgor colony instead.
In spite of the rather farcical premise the book is very enjoyable, it is humorous than the other Anderson novels I have read well, I have not read that many of them Fans of the ultra hard sf Tau Zero will be disappointed if they are expecting in that vein, those looking for a quick read, and an entertaining sci fi romp are in for a treat The book is written in the first person, narrated by a monk who follows Sir Roger on his space adventures The medieval style English is wonderful, I can not vouch for its authenticity of course but it is very amusing to read especially when describing alien technology For exampleI have studied the principles of their star maps a little, sire, I answered, though in truth they do not employ charts, but mere columns of figures Nor do they have mortal steersmen on the spaceships Rather, they instruct an artificial pilot at the start of the journey, and thereafter the homunculus operates the entire craftHa Love that stuff The main alien race, the Wersgorix, are a little old school in that they are blue skinned bipeds who communicate through vocal speech and gestures, thus conveniently facilitating the establishment of communication Other alien races show up later who are less like anthropomorphised creatures but really not all that strange by today s sci fi standard You may find that the idea that a bunch of medieval Brits resisting and conquering alien races with vastly superior technology ridiculous It is basically done through bluff and bluster, with a lot of luck thrown inBut how could that be, sire asked Sir Owain They re older and stronger and wiser than we The first two, granted, nodded the baron His humor was so good that he addressed even this knight with frank fellowship But the third, no Where it comes to intrigue, I m no master of it myself, no Italian But the star folk are like childrenIn any case Anderson has written the book and developed the characters with such skill that you are likely to be swept away by the story and jettison your incredulity out the window Tremendous fun and takes no time at all to read, a must I had a certain idea about what this book was to be about before I read it I m a fan of Poul Anderson and some of the previous novels were so rich with history and research that I just had to finally read THIS 1345 English knights under Edward III encounter first contact with aliens.
Awesome, right Well, imagine my discomfort and disappointment when it was pretty much a gloss over for the actual history bits and we re left with the standard romantic Chivalry crap And the aliens are peaceful Ish.
I readjusted my expectations, let the text speak for itself, and lo and behold I still had fun Especially when these English knights are LOST IN SPACE and defeating alien strongholds and saving alien princesses It still has all the Chivalry crap, but now it s a tongue in cheek Doc E E Smith space opera that feels a lot like Farscape.
As I read these later parts, I kept giggling at the thought of a full tv series like this Modernized, of course The novel did come out in 1960 So just think, a fully culturally accurate update of post Crusades Europe co opting spaceships spoiling for a new Crusade, only focused on a much dangerous alien foeIsn t that AWESOME Let s get our historians out for this one Do it RIGHT.
The aliens landed in Medieval times and were ready for an easy conquest of a backward worldtill the knights rushed the ship and got inside and the aliens were defeated.
.
and the ship lifted off in auto pilot.
The plot sounds a bit hokey but it made such a good story I think it could have made an ever better one, but my imagination took the original and ran with it Fun, enjoyable, imaginative, original nothing like it then and only variations since As I said I like it If it were written today it would probably be the first in a long running series There actually were a couple of follow up stories I think you ll enjoy this one While the plot may at first seem a slight eye roller and Anderson does place his tongue in his cheek a bit here within the story s own logic it works quite well Remember that depending entirely on superior technology doesn t always work just ask the British about the Battle of Isandlwana America French about the ultimate outcome in Nam, the Russians about AfghanistanGeneral Custer, and so on Poor leadership, overconfidence, lack of back up all can allow local forces to win over technological superiority The Aliens here seem to suffer from all the above.
With a seriocomic take on the story this novel looks lightly at some serious subjects and tells an enjoyable tale It s a good story I like it.
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.



A thought provoking celebration of the Englishman laced with tongue in cheek glamour and sprinkled with a deftly handled satire on contemporary superpowers and societies.
The book is short and there s a great deal of action and witty humor, it gets a bit philosophical towards the end but I finished it in one sitting with ease.
An intergalactic mega empire scouts for new planets to dominate and one of his spaceships lands in 1345 Lincolnshire, England, where even the lowliest serf looked up from his acre and dreamed of freeing the Holy Land and picking up a coffer of gold on the way What was a routine mission soon becomes the aliens worst nightmare.
The plot is linear and tightly focused and it fits the subtlety of the book s themes just fine I liked the story direction, but it s the unfolding that is source of constant entertainment I ve never read anything by Poul Anderson before, but I soon trusted him, the prose, the narrative structure and the setting premises themselves make the whole adventure sound plausible.
The story is truly humorous, original, absurd and full of boldness, bravado and deceit, centered around a space jacquerie uprising led by a medieval noble knight I m a fan of England, a sucker for the Hundred Years War the earlier part at least but I find anything related to gunpowder already too modern to bear fact is, this book is so enthralling I got hooked immediately knights and blue aliens Livestock to confound airborne patrols Archery and spacecraft Heavy chivalry pitted against tanks A whole village traipsing in the space and the main problem is how to calculate Easter The characters feel authentic, like the forlorn baroness, the ambitious young knight or the rambunctious archer no way a good book about Englishmen in the middle ages can miss an archer and then of course the catchy protagonists Sir Roger Baron de Tourneville, the man of war, takes circumstances in stride and seizes the bull by the horns, while Brother Pelvus, the narrator, the man of religion, tries to understand the implications of their actions, but both apply the filter of their culture with the right mix of superstition, crusading spirit and hard life experience on the events, to utterly hilarious consequences and unexpected resultsThe clinching proof of my reasoning is, that I ll cut anyone who argues further into dogmeat Actually, I felt that in his crude way my master had grasped truth In my spare time I would recast his logic into proper syllogistic form, to make sure Very soon it gets so charming that I started to find logical everything I read, and internally it was for sure Add into the fray a super powerful alien society grown complacent in their own superiority, a few surviving subjugated civilizations, some practical English diplomacy and Oh, now I just loved reading thisAnd why Well, on Earth there ve been many nations and lords for many centuries, all at odds with each other, under a feudal system nigh too complicated to remember Why ve we fought so many wars in France Because the Duke of Anjou was on the one hand the sovereign king of England and on the other hand a Frenchman Think you what that led to and yet tis really a minor example On our Earth, we ve perforce learned all the knavery there is to know I ve been making a sincere effort over the last couple of years to play catch up with a number of books that I somehow missed over the years Look, let s face it, we are mortal beings, and there is no way that we will ever be able to read all of the books that we want to read in a lifetime It s a good problem to have when one has an overflowing to read pile, but it does make picking the next adventure tough sometimes I have always had an affinity for classic science fiction, but there is such an overwhelming amount of material out there produced by wide variety of different authors I ve read a lot, don t get me wrong, but I have also missed a bunch over the years So I came upon Poul Anderson s The High Crusade recently and thought to finally give it a go originally published in 1960, it s one of Anderson s most popular books, and has been reprinted numerous times since its initial appearance in Astounding magazine The High Crusade was nominated for a Hugo award in 1961, adapted into a role playing game by TSR Gary Gygax s companyyes, the same TSR that published Dungeons Dragons in 1983, and spawned a movie version of the story in 1994 Anderson himself didn t think much of the movie, and I really don t feel a strong need to seek it out.
I ended up ordering a BAEN books hardcover printing on Abebooks It looks like it might be the original first edition, but the front matter doesn t indicate it as so Oddly enough this is a hard little book to find in the used book stores I guess it s one of the Poul Anderson books that people tend to keep in their home libraries The plot itself is very straightforward and simple It is the Year Of Our Lord 1345 in the small English settlement of Ansby Sir Roger, the Baron de Tourneville, is preparing to march against France in support of his King, Edward III His preparations are disturbed, however, by the quite unexpected arrival of an alien spaceship, an emissary of a violent and parasitic race known as the Wersgorix The blue skinned and demonic looking invaders are quickly mistaken to be an apparition of Hell Itself on Earth, and the aliens almost pull off their typical trick of frightening and cowing the residents of the planets they wish to conquer and colonize What the Wersgorix failed to account for was, of course, Sir Roger and his men at arms, who quickly decide to attack the blue faces with all of the might of a British military garrison of the time The aliens are quickly slaughtered, all but one, and the ship secured in King Edward s name The Wersgorixian captive, Branithar, manages to learn enough Latin to be able to converse with one of Sir Roger s band, the monk known as Brother Parvus Parvus also serves as the narrator of the story As the British learn about what they have conquered, Sir Roger hatches a plan to use the spaceship to quickly subdue France, then use it to fight in the ongoing Crusades in the Holy Land The entire village of Ansby is thus relocated to the alien vessel, whereby Branithar tricks the unfortunate English and sends them on a one way journey to an outlying Wersgor colony, the planet Tharixan It is there where Sir Roger must hatch his most ambitious and outrageous plans yet, praise be to God and the banner of England From there, the book is a rollicking and gently humorous ride as the Baron de Tournville and his gallant men and townsfolk work to defeat not only the Wersgorixian Empire, but to spread English influence to the stars.
This is a short book at 181 pages, almost of a novella than a true novel I had been somewhat under the impression that this book was something along the lines of Monty Python and the Holy Grail In Space, and there might be a bit of that going on here, but to think of it that way does the story a small disservice There is humor to be found here, yes, but The High Crusade works on a lot of different levels, and I want to give it its fair due in this review In truth, there is a LOT going on in the undercurrents of the plot It works as a tale of science fiction laced with broad fantasy elements, but there are also threads of honor won and lost, of brave deeds and foul, doubt and deceit, to be found in these pages Anderson paints his characters with a broad brush, as you might expect in a book of this short length, but no one seems out of place nor acts in any way that we would not expect them to The author was smart to give us a believable alien cast, and the whole thing just unfolds as a fun and energetic story that reads fast and never loses sight of its core ambitions Ah, to be Sir Roger, with an unheralded opportunity to capture a universe in the name of God and Crown Pax Britannica to the Stars Ultimately, a book of this sort succeeds or fails based on its sheer entertainment value, and I will admit that I was pretty entertained by The High Crusade It s a well deserved and time honored science fiction classic authored by a SFWA Grand Master, and I think you d do well to add this to your shelf I really don t know why I waited so long to unearth it, but I m really glad that I did I ll leave you with a few of the lines of the text that made me smile, so you can get a better idea of what you might be getting into At the moment, all was triumph Red splashed, panting, in scorched and dinted armor, Sir Roger de Tourneville rode a weary horse back to the main fortress After him came the lancers, archers, yeomen ragged, battered, shoulders slumped with exhaustion But the Te Deum was on their lips, rising beneath the strange constellations that twinkled forth, and their banners flew bravely against the sky It was wonderful to be an Englishman I didn t think much o those shells we had, Red John went on Why, the things didn t weigh no n five pounds We d trouble rigging the trebuchet to cast em only those few miles And what could they do, I wondered, but burst with a pop I ve seen trebuchets used proper, laying siege to French cities We d throw boulders of a ton or two, or sometimes dead horses, over the walls But, well, orders was orders So I m self cocked the little shell like I d been told how to, and we let fly Whoom The world blew up, like I had to admit this was even better to throw nor a dead horse Sir Roger grinned all over his face Twas easy to do, he said when his captains praised him I needed but to inquire the way in which things are done hereabouts, which was never secret Then the star folk tumbled into snares which would not have fooled a half witted prince of Germans But how could that be, sire asked Sir Owain They re older and stronger and wiser than we The first two, granted, nodded the baron His humor was so good that he addressed even this knight with frank fellowship But the third, no Where it comes to intrigue, I m no master of it myself, no Italian But the star folk are like children.
Re read with my sisters January 18, 2017 SO GOOD, PEOPLE 3 3 3 For on why you really ought to read this joyous book, see my full review read August 27, 2016.
THIS BOOKOH MYKNIGHTS VS ALIENSALL THE LOVEALL THE LAUGHSALL THE HEARTSTRINGSFULL REVIEW MOST CERTAINLY TO COME Your regular garden variety Englishman in 1345 had a few things to worry about the Hundred Year War, the general conditions of life in the not so pleasant Middle Ages, and if they had a working crystal ball the merciless arrival of the Black Death in three short years.
None of these worries normally included traipsing through the galaxy on a captured spaceshipLo It was as a miracle , fighting the aliens advanced technologies with lances and trebuchets, and reshaping the galaxy in accordance with the customs of feudal England on a crusadefor the glory of God, the honor of England, and the enrichment of us all However, many a sober, trustworthy man at arms swore that he saw the holy knight ride down the Milky Way in a foam of stars and impale enemy ships on his lance like so many dragonsCredibility Who needs credibility when you can have medieval warriors in space This book is such fun, built on the same premise that possessed the creators of Cowboys vs Aliens and our eternal desire to root for the obvious likeable underdog But the underdog here the savvy Baron Roger de Tourneville has an unexpected advantage over the technologically superior aliens the advantage borne out of human capacity for intrigue and good medieval capacity for an all out brawlWhere it comes to intrigue, I m no master of it myself, no Italian But the starfolk are like children.
And why Well, on Earth there ve been many nations and lords for many centuries, all at odds with each other, under a feudal system nigh too complicated to remember Why ve we fought so many wars in France Because the Duke of Anjou was on the one hand the sovereign king of England and on the other hand a Frenchman Think you what that led to and yet tis really a minor example On our Earth, we ve perforce learned all the knavery there is to knowAh, the knavery The easiness with which Sir Roger springs complicated politics and clever intrigues onto the unsuspecting aliens already baffled by the confusing nature of these Englishmen fighting force shields with smile cutting weapons, bragging of what seems to be centuries of space explorations and tales of amazing genetic engineering with all their highborn talk, and strange rituals that seem to give them strength and power The power of bluff and bravado so alien to the non English space creatures What chance did they ever have against Sir Roger and his crusadersAn ancestor of mine, by the name of Noah, was once admiral of the combined fleets of my planet Our lords have extensive foreign possessions, such as Ulster, Leinster, Normandy but I ll not weary you with a catalogue of planets I alone noticed he had not actually said those counties and duchies were planets.
Yes, on the first glance the adventure is silly enough to have been turned into a mainly comedic and not well made film in the 90s But that s superficial take on it, believe me Where it shines is the beautifully woven in humor The narration done in the stiff devoted hero and god worshipping style of a cleric Brother Parvus accompanying Roger de Tourneville on the space crusade works so well when, as the events unfold, it begins incorporating the lines that would have been right at home in Star Wars or such, as the knights and serfs and our monk get a hang of navigating the vast universe at supersonic speeds, shooting laser guns and hanging out with all kinds of space aliens, combining technology and superstition, medieval euphemisms and advanced technology, all told through the prism of sheer bravado and space loreBut we have one prisoner, Branithar, 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 companyIt s a pleasantly compact story, nicely quick paced due to such short length, never getting sidetracked and never steering from the straight narrative path It s a refreshing break from the world of doorstopper sized tomes It s quite worth the few hours you ll spend on it.
3.
5 stars.
In The Year Of Grace , 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 Northeastern 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 Ah, But This Time It S No Mere Primitives The Wersgorix Seek To Enslave They Ve Launched Their Invasion Against Free 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 Unfortunately, He Has Not Allowed For The Treachery Of The Alien Pilot, Who Instead Takes The Craft To His Home Planet, Where, He Thinks, These Upstart Barbarians Will Have No Choice But To Surrender But That Knavish Alien Little Understands The Indomitable Will And Clever Resourcefulness Of Englishmen, No Matter How Great The Odds Against Them