_One Against the Legion_ is the third novel in Jack Williamson's Legion of Space tetrology. The first two are _The Legion of Space_ (_Astounding_, 1934; 1950) and _The Cometeers_ (_Astounding_, 1936; 1950). The fourth is _Queen of the Legion_ (1983). The publishing history of the third novel is a bit more complicated than that of the other three. "One Against the Legion" was originally serialized in _Astounding_ in 1939-- bought this time by John W. Campbell, not Harry Bates. It was published in 1950 in the same volumn as _The Cometeers_. Then, in 1967, it was published separately by Pyramid Books with a new Legion novella called "Nowhere Near" added on. I am reviewing the Pyramid version of the novel.
"One Against the Legion" takes place mostly on an artifact called the New Moon of Earth. The old, original Luna was wiped out in a space battle in _The Legion of Space_. The responsible thing to do would be to make New Moon a mass of science laboratories. Alas, I am afraid that there is more of Las Vegas than Los Alamos about this Big Dumb Object-- an assemblage of casinoes, luxury hotels, police barracks, and euthanasia rooms.
The plots of the earlier Legion books were linear capture-and-escape affairs, with the main villains identified early in the novels. The plot of "One Against the Legion" is more like an English mystery story. Our hero, Chan Derron, is an ex-Legionaire who has been neatly framed for murder and espionage by a super criminal known as the Basilisk. Williamson plants his clues fairly and manages to keep the identity of his villain well concealed until the end.
We learn a bit more about Giles Habibula's past, and there is an ending that does not last a second too long.
"Nowhere Near" is a bit more up to date in its technological background. There are references to computers, lasers, transisters, Uranium-238, anomolies, ultrawaves, and spectroscopic analysis-- terms that were not commonplace back in the 1930s. But the formula is old. Giles Habibula makes his way (along with a generous supply of caviar and wine) to a distant and endangerered space station. The other characters are a new generation of assorted heroes, a lovely heroine, and various villains. Some readers prefer the earlier books in the series. They have a bit more color. But _One Against the Legion_ is a touch better plotted and better written. It holds up passably well.