An enjoyable novel in van Vogt's Isher series of stories. This was first published in Astounding Science Fiction from February through April of 1943. It was first published in book form in 1947, and was revised in 1952. It was also published under the name 'One Against Eternity' in 1955.
In the Isher series, there are two organizations who are vying for power on Earth. There is The Imperial Isher Dynasty, which is the governmental force on Earth. Although the only governmental force, it has been unable to squash the technologically superior Weapon Shops, who provide the citizens with powerful weapons which can only be used in self-defense. The main character of this story is Robert Hedrock, who appears to be working for both sides, or at least playing them off against each other. The recent development of an interstellar drive has both powers trying to get control of the new technology. Robert Hedrock is trying to gain control of the interstellar drive himself to maintain the balance of power. It would be difficult to discuss this book any further without spoiling the story.
In 1952, this novel was ranked 26th on the Astounding/Analog All-Time Poll. The prior Isher stories include: 'The Seesaw' (July 1941) and 'The Weapon Shop' (December 1942), both of which were shorter fiction. In 1951 'The Weapon Shops of Isher' was published, but the events in that novel take place before those in 'The Weapon Makers'.