Sunday, January 30, 2011

King David's Spaceship 1 - Jerry Pournelle

"He could have fought, of course. Even after the Committee bowed to the inevitable power of the Imperial Navy, he could have taken MacKinnie's Wolves to the fields, wandering in the forests, cutting down Haven soldiers, fighting tiny actions with formations too small for the Navy to find and blast out of existence with their space weapons. But for how long? And what would the Imperials do to Orleans? How long would the people of the Republic have supported him? How long before the romantic gesture turned stale and the admiration of the citizens turned to hatred and disgust as town after town was bombarded from space, turned to a blackened cinder as Lechfeld was? MacKinnie inhaled his cigar, letting the warm smoke drift over his tongue, out his lips, and into his nostrils, tasting the incredibly pleasing combination of real tobacco and grua before destroying the delicate flavors with the harsh tang of whiskey.

Across the next table, a couple rose and staggered toward the door, leaving him a clear view of Lieutenant Jefferson. The young naval officer was telling an admiring peasant about a strange planet, a place where they had no guns, only swords, and they worshiped Christ in a temple which once was an Old Empire library. Both of us drunks, MacKinnie thought. But the boy's one up. He's going somewhere, and what he does won't be undone by something you couldn't fight, couldn't understand. Stark was right. The young man did resemble the old Nat MacKinnie, but not this one. The old one was going somewhere, and what he accomplished would be his. And so the same would be true for that boy. Cursing bitterly, Nathan MacKinnie realized that he felt envy for the young men who had conquered his world."

3.5 out of 5