- Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Baen Books (March 1 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780671721114
- ISBN-13: 978-0671721114
- ASIN: 0671721119
- Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 3 x 17.1 cm
- Shipping Weight: 181 g
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #492,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Crusade Mass Market Paperback – Mar 1 1992
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From the Back Cover
THE PRODIGAL'S RETURN
Neither side having proved capable of pressing their conflict to a successful conclusion, the Human-Orion war to end all interstellar wars has collapsed into an uneasy peace. But it is a peace filled with fear, hatred and mistrust on both sides. Then from out of a warp point notorious for devouring space ships, appears a ship from the dim mists of half-forgotten history. It responds to hails from the patrolling Orion sentry using ancient human codes from a long lost colony. And it opens fire on Orions, igniting the fires of interstellar war anew, in a quest to free Holy Mother Terra....
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An Orion squadron in the Lorelei system is puzzled when an unknown fleet is discovered coming out of Charon's Ferry, the sixth warp point, since no ship had ever returned from there. Also, the bogies are using a very old Terran Federation Navy code in their transmissions. The squadron commander speculates that these ships could be remnants of TFN forces that had fled the Orions 90 years before during the Second Interstellar War. When the bogies identify themselves as TFN and refuse to believe that the Orions are allies, the TFN onboard liaison contacts them and explains the Treaty of Valkha. The bogies agree to parlay and, as the main party stands down, the vanguard comes to the Orions. Shortly thereafter, however, the bogies attack with missiles at minimum range and then with X-ray lasers. The Orions release their Omega drones and fight back, but three ships are soon lost. The Orion flagship is then boarded, but self-destructs before being captured.
After studying the available information, the Khanate of Orion decides that the invaders are Terrans. The Strategy Board wants to attack the Federation, but the Khan agrees with the squadron commander's idea of lost TFN forces escaping through Charon's Ferry. He tells the Federation Ambassador that Orion will not attack the Federation or the unknowns, but that the Federation must exact suitable vengeance upon their errant fellows. The Federation agrees and the politicians send a Peace Fleet to Lorelei upon invitation by the unknowns. Under secret orders, the TFN is subordinated to the diplomatic corps with disastrous results as the bogies repeat their underhanded tactics.
This story has many similarities to historical conflicts. The genocidial destruction of the Rigellian Protectorate in the Third Interstellar War parallels the actions of Rome in the Third Punic War. The actions of the Thebans reflect the fanatical behavior of both sides in the long conflict between Christianity and Islam, particularly in the Eastern Roman Empire and in Spain.
This novel is recommended for all Weber & White fans and anyone who likes spatial warfare with a background of political intrigue.
"Crusade" is a space opera, with a handful of interesting characters, that are nonetheless one or two-dimensional at best. Fans of Weber's Honor Harrington series will see his hand at the orchestration and description of the space battles, as well as some of the personal clashes and resolutions (one in which a naval officer faces down the local government and industrial lobbyists by quoting case law comes to mind). However, the lack of compelling characters makes it overall a book inferior to the HH series.
On the other hand, as pure space opera this is a remarkably good and entertaining read. After their Orion allies are attacked by mysterious ships, humanity (in the form of the Terran Federation) must meet the challenge and defend their honor, or risk a new war with the Orion Khanate. From then on, the book will spend most of its time either describing fleet actions or preparations and consequences thereof, with a few passages given over to character interaction (but, alas, never character developement). In the grand tradition of the Doc Smith space operas, in which characters are flat and almost secondary to the action, with one larger than life character orchestrating it all (in this case, two: a former president and a naval admiral), the book has no apologies to make and is an excellent specimen. If that is all you are looking for you will be happy with your purchase and entertained throughout. If you are looking for a bit more character, however, you will probably be disappointed.
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