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Agent Terran Empire Mass Market Paperback – Aug 1 1982


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Mass Market Paperback, Aug 1 1982
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--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Ace Books (August 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441010687
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441010684
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.4 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g

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Amazon.com: 6 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great space opera. Goes well with beer and chips. Nov. 4 2002
By Roger J. Buffington - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dominick Flandry is a 30th Century Horatio Hornblower. This is space opera, plain and simple. But it is very very high quality and readable space opera, and Poul Anderson really does put some effort into speculating about what human society will evolve into, and what alien races will be like. These stories are entertainment. Flandry is extremely likable, and so are the Merseians, the alien bad guys. (They are more or less a cross between the Klingons (whom they predate) and an iguana.)
These short stories are meant to be fun and are that. This is not deep meaningful literature. More like what you'll want to read while drinking beer and eating chips. Hey, nothing wrong with that! What's not to like? If you can find it, buy it!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Kudos to iBooks May 14 2005
By G. Styles - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Poul Anderson has only been gone a few years, but already most of his extremely long list of novels and story collections is out of print. iBooks deserves praise for reviving one of Anderson's best characters, Captain Sir Dominic Flandry. Anderson was a pillar of science fiction from the late 1950s into the 1990s, and the Flandry books--part of the larger Technic future history that includes the van Rijn/Falkayn series--were from his strongest period.

I read these stories as a kid and later as an adult and was impressed by how they grew with me--lots of bold adventure, but some serious musings, as well. Flandry is a very modern character, in some respects, with sophisticted tastes and inner conflicts, but also very much a man of his corrupt and decadent time.

If iBooks perseveres with this series, then the best Flandry book--and one of Anderson's best--should be out soon, "A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows."
In every alien language there is a way to say "Lock up your daughters, Flandry is here" May 16 2012
By Michael Battaglia - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Honestly, I'm not even sure I'm reading these in order. I had a handful of these, realized that Anderson wrote quite a bit more than I had and recently acquired the rest of the Flandry stories and the stories in the series that predate him. Hopefully reading it all as a piece will help me get some sense of the scope of it, which seems quite ambitious, the rise and decline of a human space empire from a ground level view. The Flandry stories seem to take place toward the tail-end of the empire, where everything is pretty swell and things are seemingly at their peak but there are signs that the rot is beginning to set in and the darkness is nibbling at the edges. And that alone makes these fairly distinct.

We met Flandry in the first volume as a new ensign just figuring out how to be awesome, and more or less succeeding. By the time we reach him here he's basically flowered into full-on awesome, a captain and their go-to spy for when situations need one person to improvise wildly and somehow still save the day against all impossible odds. Except it doesn't quite work that way. The politics get messy, Flandry's boss is clearly trying to kill him by giving him the most impossible missions ever and even when he does succeed, Flandry is all too aware that he's barely holding back the tide of darkness that's about to fall upon the whole empire, probably after he's dead. Which could always be the next mission, the way it goes.

There's four stories in this volume, all published at different times and probably not meant to be read in sequence. To that end they can be a bit disappointing, since there's really no character development of Flandry like we got in the sustained burst that was "Ensign Flandry" . . . here he's got his effectiveness down to a science and manages to make every situation work with a little pluck and elbow grease. Thus, a lot of the traits can seem like Anderson repeating himself, especially how Flandry always manages to find himself with a different girl in nearly every story, sometimes more than one if the mojo is working. There's no sense of him having to find himself or figure out skills that may become useful to him later, most of the time it's just a matter of him understanding the situation and figuring out which tools to use.

Yet all four stories work mostly because Flandry is so likeable. Men want to be him and women want to be with him (heck, in two stories the people who started out trying to kill him admit that they kind of dig him too). Most of the stories have the same general structure, the Terran Empire is attempting to either acquire some leverage or prevent the Mersians from having some influence with said alien civilization, and thus Flandry and whoever the local commander is wind up jockeying in a weird chess game that involves fist fights and dames but comes across as more intelligent than that, like reading Doc Smith's Lensman stories with most of the optimism removed. Like "Ensign Flandry", but far more pronounced here, there's a very real and deliberate sense that Anderson is thinking through the consequences of these politics, where winning doesn't necessarily mean beating the bad guy but being the one who gets the trade agreement, or makes the other civilization like us more, where most of the problems can be won by not making the Terrans look bad or finding out stuff the other guy knows without letting him know you know it, something that comes across as twice as hard as merely blowing everything up in sight. It lends a sense of realism to the stories, which would otherwise be basic juvenile science-fiction with fairly straightforward plots. By avoiding some of the over-the-top tendencies of the genre (death-traps, hysterics) he dials down some of the pulse-pounding action but manages to create situations where the conflicts aren't as simple as they appear (in one neat sequence, Flandry and crew have to worry about if the Jovians are working with the Mersians or doing their own thing, either to screw the Terrans or get in good with the Mersians, or just for the sheer heck of it because who understands aliens anyway).

But underneath it all is a surprisingly affecting melancholy. Unlike most of the other people alive, Flandry is all too aware that the darkest days of the empire are before them and it consumes most of his thoughts, giving him an extra drive beyond being generically good. He's working so that a future he probably won't see will last a little while longer, and in the interim distracts himself with food and drink and ladies, then rushes back in to try to avoid killing himself to make the light shine a little brighter. Or the light shines the same, it's the dark that recedes a tad. There's a brief speech in "Hunters of the Sky Cave" that accentuates this brilliantly, ending on a wonderfully evocative note that ". . . we shiver a bit and swear a bit and go back to playing with a few bright dead leaves". It's not quite the same as that great grey British sense of impending slow collapse that pervades most of their work (in each story, at least, there's hope, doom is far in the future), but it gives these tales that would be simple on the surface a bit more edge and a bit more depth than the average SF of the time. Not experimental by any means but recommended for anyone who wants a little more thoughtfulness with their tales of spaceships and derring-do.
Super Reader Aug. 3 2007
By Blue Tyson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Four stories that pits superagent Dominic Flandry against his Merseian nemesis/counterpart/duelling partner. Flandry has the Terran resources to back him, but his opposite number is a telepath of no mean ability.

It is hard to plot and plan with him around, particularly in a diplomatic setting. Batman would be pretty happy with Flandry's valet/butler, pretty good with the spaceship and the raygun.

Agent of the Terran Empire : 1 Tiger by the Tail - Poul Anderson
Agent of the Terran Empire : 2 Warriors From Nowhere! - Poul Anderson
Agent of the Terran Empire : 3 Honorable Enemies - Poul Anderson
Agent of the Terran Empire : 4 A Handful Of Stars - Poul Anderson

Flandry gets involved with some of the ruling class of an alliance opposed to his, and uses their tribal society system against them via some political destabilisation, and a spot of duelling.

4 out of 5

Flandry has to deal with an opposite number with a telepathic advantage.

3 out of 5

Rescue from a dragon by your opponent who is always aware of what you are doing leads Flandry to come up with a cunning plan.

3.5

Flandry gets into to grass roots work on a planet with some nasty conditions, and ends up in deadly shipboard combat, all with the help of a local woman.

3.5 out of 5
Adrift on the Great Red Spot Aug. 8 2006
By Paul Camp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Part of the action of one of these Dominic Flandry stories takes place on the Great Red Spot of Jupiter. "_On_ the Great Red Spot?" you ask. Yes, indeed:

"It's been known a long time, even before space travel, that it's a... a mass of ariel pack ice. Lord, what a fantastic place to die! What happens is that at a certain height in the Jovian atmosphere, the pressure allows a red crystalline form of ice-- not the white stuff that we splash whisky onto, or the black alletrope down on the surface, or the super-dense variety in the mantle around the Jovian core. Here the pressure is right for red ice, and the air density is identical, so it floats... the Red Spot is a pack of flying glaciers, stretching broader than all Terra. And we've been crashed on one of them!" (106-107)

Yes, we now know that the Red Spot is a perpetual hurricane. But I still have a fondness for Anderson's floating icebergs, as I do for Martian canals and Venusian seas. It's a great piece of imaginative detail that Anderson tosses off as almost a side adventure.

For readers not familiar with this series, Sir Dominic Flandry is like the boy with his finger in the dike. He knows that the Terran Empire is weak and corrupt and that it will eventually fall. But he hopes to delay the fall so that the Long Night that follows will not be quite as long and dark.

He is not a great undercover agent. He gets caught by the villains an awful lot, and many times his "cover" consists mainly of pretending to be a stupid, Colonel Blimp type of officer. Oddly enough, it seems to work fairly well for him.

Most of the stories in this collection are early entries in Flandry's saga: "Tiger by the Tail" (_Planet_, 1951), "Warriers from Nowhere" (_Planet_, 1954 as "The Ambassadors of Flesh"), "Honorable Enemies" (_Future_ combined with _Science Fiction_, 1951), and "Hunters of the Sky Cave" (_Amazing_, 1959 as "A Handful of Stars"). They are not as smoothly written or as complex as some of the later stories in the series. But they have a certain amount of energy and zest. They are less dark and world-weary, and they are, I think, a bit more fun.


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