King David's Spaceship
Copyright 1980 by
I first read this in 1982 and most recently on the 2nd August 2002
A ship of the Imperial Navy has arrived on Prince Samuel's World.
Its mission is to bring this old First Empire colony back into the fold
of the CoDominium Empire, the second empire.
Prince Samuel's world is primitive, perhaps at the level of Earth's eighteenth
century. It'll be taken into the new empire as a colony, with no representation
or power in the CoDominium government, to be ruled over by colonists sent from
Malcolm Dougal is the head of King David's secret service. He's politically aware
enough to understand that the empire's plans bode badly for the fate of his country,
indeed his world, and he is determined to do anything, pay any price, to preserve his
world and his culture.
Finally, a hope presents itself. If they were a space-traveling world, they could gain
a respected position within the Empire, rather than being a simple colony ripe for
So Dougal determines to build a spaceship.
Prince Samuel's world has no hope of achieving this within the necessary timeframe. They have no
electronics, no radio, no nuclear power, no hope of understanding the theory of FTL.
Dougal determines to steal the required knowledge from another world. Of course, it's
a hopeless quest, but it's the only hope they have.
For this he'll need the resources of the entire world united under his King, vast and
secret research projects struggling to get to grips with Imperial technology. he'll
also need Colonel Nathan MacKinnie and Freelady Mary Graham.
If you're interested in the history of technology and it's role in cultural development,
and if you'd prefer to read about in the form of an SF novel, then this is the book for
you. Well, it may not actually be the book for you, but if you enjoy the military campaigns,
monarchies, sexism and women's liberation, slaughter of innocents and space travel, then
this might be. I think it's the best of Jerry's solo books, but that's probably because
it feels more like a (mediocre) Niven-Pournelle collaboration, and speaking of which, the
novel takes place concurrently with The Mote in God's Eye.
Loaded on the 19th August 2002.