Poul Anderson's "Technic Civilization" series of novels and short stories is based upon the premise that: a) mankind will achieve practical interstellar travel; b) there are many alien civilizations out there; and c) humans will behave pretty much as they always have throughout history.
This novel is set in the "Empire" phase of Technic Civilization. The more or less democratic Polesotechnic League, which was based upon laissez-faire capitalism on a gigantic scale, has been replaced with a despotic Imperial regime that is rapidly sliding into decay. The protagonist here is one Captain Dominic Flandry, who is bright, patriotic, and yes, a tad decadent. But it is a wholesome decadence! Flandry explains that "good decadence isn't lolling around on cushions eating drugged custard!... it is fine food and fine women and conversation as a fine art!..."
The several stories in this novel are all very well-written for those who enjoy "hard" science fiction. Dominic Flandry is a 30th Century Horatio Hornblower and James Bond all rolled into one. This is lots of fun!
Poul Anderson was one of the Greats of the Golden Age of science fiction, due in large part to his "Technic Civilization" stories. Hopefully all of his works will soon be published on Kindle so that they will be safely preserved and made available to future generations of readers. In the meantime, if you find this book used, and are a lover of science fiction, snap it up!